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  • Mark Zeid

May Showers

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

May brought us plenty of rain here in the Florida Panhandle, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. For Fort Walton Beach Temple Beth Shalom's first Friday service, we had a pot-luck dinner and services at the beach. The gentle breezes made it difficult for us to stay on the correct page of our prayer books, but we managed to weather the storm. One special addition was the sparrows that joined us for our pot-luck dinner really, enjoying the crumbs left over from the challah.

Not to worry. We returned to our synagogue for our regular Friday evening services where in addition to the Rabbi’s sermon and weekly announcements, we continued with our weekly competition of bad jokes. Eli is in the lead. Our president, Chad, has been on vacation, so he’s slipped into second place. Our third contestant, the Rabbi is still in fourth place. So far, no other contestants have had the courage to come forward and join the competition.

A miracle happened. We were finally able to hold a board meeting. So many of us were busy on the regularly scheduled meeting dates. Fortunately, moving the board meeting one day later, enabled us to meet via Zoom. Lots to talk about, the most important thing was scheduling our annual membership meeting, which is set for Sunday, June 5th. The great thing about the date is Shavuot and the chance for sweet treats for everyone before the meeting. This is an extremely important meeting, not only for the sweets but for the opportunity for everyone to voice concerns and suggestions for our community. We will be talking about all the problems facing our community, inflation, and the need for greater financial support, fundraising, and increasing our social calendar. I volunteered to scout out bars for the last concern.

Life is dull when things are working well. In addition to our Friday services, we have Torah study every Saturday morning. Each week we gather to disagree. I’m not sure, but I feel that it is our duty as Jews to never agree with anyone else. We even disagree about agreeing to disagree. One thing we do agree on is coffee and donuts would be a welcome addition to our weekly contention.

Twice a month, we have Lunch and Learn on Tuesdays. Stephanie manages to put together a great meal and the Rabbi leads discussions on the Book of Joshua. Then every Wednesday, the Rabbi leads a class on the principles of Judaism. We continued our commitment to our Military Service Members. We’re expanding our coverage from Eglin Air Force Base to the Seventh Force and Duke Field. Based on the number of people participating in these activities, we are finding something for everyone. One of the best parts is all these activities, including our services and Saturday morning Torah study, are available to our members via Zoom. Feel free to email us at to join our community.

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