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Turning Outward

01/06/2021 01:54:49 PM


Rabbi Brent Spodek

As we move into 2021, it is more important than ever that we tend to the social fabric of our community. I have been so heartened by the many folks from our community who have contributed to Beacon Mutual Aid, the Hudson Valley Food Bank and American Jewish World Service in the closing days of 2020. 

The Torah teaches that “One who oppresses the poor blasphemes the Creator, and one that is gracious to the poor honors God.” (Proverbs 14:31) and I want to lay out a few ways that we can honor our fellow creatures and the Creator, here in the Hudson Valley.

The Food Pantry at St Andrews

At the end of 2020, we began our partnership with the Food Pantry at St Luke and St Andrew, which serves hungry folks in Beacon. We are looking volunteers on:

  • Fridays, from from roughly 10:00 am -12:00 pm, mostly packing grocery bags

  • Saturdays, from roughly 9:30 am - 11:30 am; for a mix of packing bags and heavier lifting

Laura Liebeck Smith and Cantor Ellen Gersh were there this past Saturday. Cantor Ellen said, “The volunteers were very friendly and we felt welcomed. It was a great way to be part of a larger community helping to feed hungry people. I was so glad to be there and hope to see more BHA members.”

I’ll be there this Saturday morning with at least one of my kids, and I’d be delighted to see you there. If you are interested in taking part, or if you have any questions, please be directly in touch with Father John Williams directly at Please do not just show up without coordinating with Father Williams first. 

Don't Kvetch, Organize

Capitalists organize money into corporations, activists organize workers into unions, but how can regular people, who want to live in a better society, organize to make it happen?

Real change happens when we organize to advance issues that are important to us. JOIN for Justice is an incredible organization that has teamed up with the Jewish Theological Seminary to offer an on-line training on how to do just that. Called Don’t Kvetch, Organize, it is an opportunity to learn from some of the most dynamic change makers in the Jewish world (including my old boss, Ruth Messinger). This is an on-line, self-paced course, and I’m hoping we can have a cohort of BHA members taking part. Please click here for more information, and if you are interested in taking part but finances are an issue, please let me know, as I have funds available for BHA members to take part in this.  


We are continuing our Lamplighters phone calls, reaching out to members of our community to check in, let people know they are not alone, and making sure that people have their basic needs met. If you are a member of BHA and interested in making friendly calls to other members of BHA, please let me know

Beacon Human Relations Commission

I have accepted an invitation to serve on the City of Beacon Human Relations Commission, which exists “to create and foster a community climate of tolerance and understanding.” My hope is that the commission will be a way to soften the borders between the communities which make up Beacon, and if you have thoughts or ideas about how that work can best be done, please let me know. 

I have felt as if I’m hibernating the past few weeks, hunkered down with my family, trying to wait out a storm that never ends. Now is the time to take concrete steps to honor our fellow creatures and the Creator. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

With blessings,

Rabbi Brent

Sat, January 16 2021 3 Shevat 5781