Bet Chaverim General Membership Meeting – 6/28/2020
In Attendance: Michael Banks, Rabbi Mirel, Brenda LaPoint, David Kaplan, Sherwin Alpert, Robyn Alpert, Judy Schainen, Carol Lym, Joe Wilder, June Kallman, Gloria Hoxsie, Donna Mullins, Deborah Appel, Carmi Brooks, Melissa Brooks, Peter Smith, Nancy Blasé, Ted Bogart, Maya Valladao Jeffery, Archie Levine, Peggy Kornberg, Carrie Bagatell, Bobbie Silverman, Judie Sirrine, Paul Sirrine, Ken Steinman, Mary Stevenson, Jim Stevenson, honorary member
The meeting was called to order at 11:10 A.M.
Rabbi Remarks: Rabbi Mirel did an opening blessing and stated that he was impressed by the friendship and support shown by our congregation members.
Review of Past Year: Michael reviewed the highlights of our past year:
We met our membership goal of increasing my 5 members – Josh Brooks, Tina Gueverra, June Kallman, Eytan Olivier and Bobbi Silverman.
During our Shavuot food drive we collected 42 bags of food and brought them to Jewish Family Services. We also continue to support the Pediatric Interim Care Center
We received three grants this past year – two from the Jewish Federation and one from the National Center to Encourage Judaism. We have applied for a Homeland Security grant to reinforce security.
Michael thanked our members for “living Your Torah”, for helping to bridge the community and for being a “house of friends”. He reviewed last year’s calendar and pointed out that a hike on August 25th has been added to the calendar. He thanked Robyn and Sherwin for hosting the “Books & Bagels” and Rabbi Mirel for teaching most of the Jewish Experience classes.
Financial: Dave Kaplan has agreed to be Treasurer for a second two year term. For this last fiscal year we budgeted $51,824 in revenue and $50,754 in expenses. Our donations exceeded what was budgeted by $1,600 thanks to some of Rabbi Mirel’s contacts. High Holiday donations were up by $700 compared to last year. We received a Federation Ignition grant in order to sponsor a community concert. At the July board meeting we will discuss whether to have the concert in October or postpone it until the spring. We also received a $5,000 Federation small congregation grant.
The proposed budget for 2020/21 is a break-even budget with proposed revenue of $52,624. Four families have agreed to increase their dues for next year. The rabbi income will increase to $16,200 – 12.5% increase.
There was a question regarding if we will have High Holiday services by Zoom and how this will affect our expenses and donations. At the July board meeting, the board will discuss whether the High Holiday services will be in person, by Zoom or a combination. Our High Holiday cantor this year will be Cantor Andrew Bernard; Amy will again be the accompanist.
Some of our fundraisers for next year will include a Jack Kornberg memorial donation tree and a wine tasting event. Dave encourages anyone who is not a member to talk with him about becoming a member.
There was a motion made and approved to accept the proposed 2020/21 budget. Invoices for dues pledges for our next fiscal year will go out on July 1st.
Donation Options: Dave outlined several new donation and dues payment options. One option is to pay through Zelle and send it to email@example.com. Please indicate in the memo box what the payment is for.
We now have an agreement with Merchant 1 for credit card payments. There will be a credit card donation button added to our website. Since we need to pay Merchant 1 a monthly rate for credit card use we will ask people paying by credit card to put in a little extra.
Committees: Michael emphasized that we are a community of doers. Our current committees include:
- Philanthropy/Fundraising – We will be working on putting up a donation tree. Donations may be made for historical events or to honor individuals. The committee will also work on generating endowment donations
- Religious/Ritual/Education – Michael mentioned encouraging people to become Torah readers. He also mentioned that he will be distributing the Kugel cookbooks.
- Hospitality – there was a shout out to Chris Bogart for her leadership
- Membership/Outreach – this committee has been on hiatus
- Technology – thank you to Carmi Brooks for his work on the website. Thank you also to Lucas for being our Zoom Master and bulletin editor
- Yartzeit – Maya reported that Nancy Blasé will take over compiling the Book of Remembrance for this year
- Social Justice – Archie Levine was thanked for being the chair of this committee
- Security & Safety – Ken Steinman and Sherwin Alpert were thanked for working on the Homeland Security grant
- Inclusivity – this is our newest committee. The purpose of the committee is to make sure that all people feel welcome and that we include calendar events that meet a variety of interests.
- Caring – Michael mentioned that most recently the committee has been reaching out to Jack and Anne Locascio who are going through a challenging time
New Slate of Officers: The new slate of officers was presented:
- President – Judy Schainen – 2 years
- Vice-President – Joe Wilder – 2 years
- Treasurer – Dave Kaplan – 2 years
- Recording Secretary – Melissa Brooks – 1 year
- Corresponding Secretary – Robyn Alpert – 1 year
- Member At Large – June Kallman – 2 years
- Member At Large – Sherwin Alpert – 1 year
- Member At Large – Donna Mullins – 1 year
- Member At Large – Ted Bogart – 1 year
- Past President – Michael Banks – 2 years
- Member At Large – vacancy – 2 years
- Rabbi James Mirel
The proposed slate was voted on and approved. Rabbi Mirel did an invocation/installation ceremony with the new board.
Incoming President Remarks: Judy thanked the members for electing our new slate of board members. She thanked Michael for the wonderful job he has done as our president the past two years. Some of the highlights that she mentioned regarding Michael were:
- Chicken soup brigade for our Passover seder
- Efforts to get us our new sukkah
- Slide shows to exotic places
- Love of teaching and the Jewish Experience class
The other board members also added their positive comments regarding Michael.
We will be looking forward to reopening for in person services. Some of our goals for the next year will be examining social inequities; continuing to seek new members and keep our current members; and instituting our Memorial Tree of Life.
Why do people stay with us? It is holy work, it is home, we are small but we are big on spirit.
Our next board meeting will be on July 8th.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:35 P.M.
Respectfully submitted by: Melissa Brooks/Bet Chaverim Recording Secretary
Bet Chaverim stands in solidarity with the activists against systemic injustice and police brutality.
In addition to continuing our historical work of supporting and joining protestors in the streets,
the Jewish community must think about how we welcome Black Jews and other community members
in our synagogues and homes. Good intentions cannot take the place of true understanding.
Work is needed on every level, whether it’s the Israeli government’s treatment of African refugees
or an individual’s naive assumptions about someone’s background.
Antiracist activist and Bet Chaverim member Eytan Olivier has shared his piercing observations
on the experiences of himself and other Black Jews:
“Concerning RACISM, in general I can say:
-Racism is to my eyes, the largest MONSTER freely CHOSEN by humans.
Concerning RACISM as a JEW, I can say that:
-It is NOT always easy to be accepted by many as a JEW.
So those who are JEWS are best off NOT being BLACK.
Because if one is JEWISH and BLACK at the same time, things can be at the best, COMPLICATED.
In one sentence:
-If one is a JEW, being BLACK makes things WORSE.
As we as humans have FREELY chosen to live with racism, we have the ability to get rid of it freely too.
As JEWS we are called to be (or le goyim <-> אור לגויים) which means LIGHT to the gentiles.”
It can be very painful to hear that we have work to do on ourselves. In addition to standard antiracist reading,
the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has also provided resources for our own cultural trauma
to help us be ready to truly hear others.
It is important to be kind to our learning and growing hearts while developing
our antiracist skills one step at a time.
Starting with the learning resources provided here,
Bet Chaverim pledges to work on resisting injustice in our own habits and assumptions as well as the world.
2020 mid term meeting
the Land remained a Jewish theocracy under Syrian-based Seleucid rulers.
as part of an effort to impose Greek-oriented culture and customs on the entire population,
Following further Hasmonean victories (147 BCE), the Seleucids restored autonomy to Judea,
as the Land of Israel was now called, and, with the collapse of the Seleucid kingdom (129 BCE),
Jewish independence was again achieved. Under the Hasmonean dynasty, which lasted about 80 years,
the kingdom regained boundaries not far short of Solomon’s realm, political consolidation under Jewish rule was attained and Jewish life flourished.
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For the holidays, you are all invited to my place – 43 years ago and 3000 miles away in Cranford, New Jersey – to try two amazing desserts made with honey. The first is, of course, my Mom’s teiglach. The second is an absolute knock-your-socks-off dish that can be made a couple of days ahead and kept in the refrigerator – Honey-Ginger Zabayon. That first burst of honey, ginger and raisins on your taste buds is sure to carry you back to Yamim Nora’ims of yore!
Honey is generally believed to have made its first appearance in the human story in Egypt around 4000 BC. Used as a sweetening agent, it was highly valued, and was used to feed sacred animals as well as tribute or payment. By the 21 st century BC, it had been mentioned in the Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite Code, and the Vedas (the sacred writings of India). In Sumeria, Assyria, and Babylonia, it was poured over thresholds and stones bearing commemorative offerings, and bolts used in sacred buildings were dipped in it.
The ancient Greeks believed Mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey, to be the food of the Gods. When the Spaniards came to the New World, they found that the natives of 16th Century Mexico and Central America had already developed beekeeping, with a distinct family of honeybees native to North America. European settlers introduced European honey bees to New England in 1638. They used honey to prepare food and beverages, to make cement, to preserve fruit and other foods, to make furniture paste-polish and varnish, and for medicinal purposes.
Honey has an incredibly high fructose content. This means that you can use less honey than the amount of sugar called for in a recipe. Start by substituting half the sugar called for. That is, if the recipe says use a cup of sugar, then use a ½ cup of honey.
Reduce any liquid in the recipe by a ¼ cup for each cup of honey used
Add ½ Tsp baking soda for each cup of honey
Reduce oven temperature by 25 to prevent over-browning
When measuring honey, a 12oz jar equals one cup
Spray the utensil you will measure the honey in with pan spray – the honey will slide
Teiglach are Balkan in origin, particularly Lithuania. The word “teiglach” (or tayglach) means
“little doughies.” Among Lithuanian Jews, there are infinite variations on the theme, with the
addition of dried fruits, nuts, rolling in sugar or cinnamon (or a combination), baking and boiling,
baking before boiling, baking after boiling, etc., etc., etc. All require sweet dough and a lot of
honey. Beyond that, you can add whatever you like to the basic recipe.
A WORD OF CAUTION!
Boiling/simmering honey is extremely hot. It is hotter than boiling water. Because of the high
sugar content, the temperature of the liquid can reach almost 300 degrees! Use a big enough
pot so the honey mixture doesn’t boil over, and always use extreme caution when adding or
removing the teiglach from the pot.
O.K. Having given the warning, I must say that my mom has been making teiglach since I was
little, and she has never burned herself or anyone else. She once added too much ginger, but
that’s another story.
This recipe came from my mom and it is the best teiglach in the entire world. The first bite after
dinner on Erev Rosh Hashanah transports me across time and space to the love and warmth of
2 Tsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Cups A.P. Flour
Raisins or other dried fruit
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Sugar – for a more intense flavor use brown sugar or go half and half brown and white
2-3 Tbsp Ground Ginger
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
½ Cup Boiling Water
2 more Tsp Ground Ginger
Beat the eggs and the sugar together and add the oil, beating well to mix. Mix the baking powder with the flower and add 1½ cups of the mixture to the egg/sugar/oil and incorporate to form a dough. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour and continue working it. When the dough is tacky but not sticky, turn out on a floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Cover with film and allow to rest for 15 minutes or so.
Cut the dough in half and roll each piece out 1/8” thick and about 4” wide. You will have a skinny rectangle about 24” long. Sprinkle the dough with raisins (and nuts, if you want) and press them into the dough with a rolling pin. Roll up the dough along the long edge and pinch the ends closed. Cut the log into small pieces (they will expand when simmered in the honey) and pinch the ends of each closed so the raisins and nuts are contained inside
Bring the honey, sugar, ginger and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy pot. Drop the nuggets a couple at a time into the liquid. When they are all in the pot, stir to coat all of them, return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. After a half hour, stir the pot so that all the teiglach on the bottom of the pot are brought to the top, and the ones on top are now on the bottom. Continue simmering for another 15 – 30 minutes, until the teiglach are a rich golden mahogany color and the dough is completely cooked. When they are done, stir in the boiling water and the remaining ginger and mix thoroughly to loosen the honey. Remove the teiglach with a slotted spoon to a sheet of parchment sprayed lightly with pan spray, making sure they don’t touch. When they are cool, store in containers with the syrup poured over them. They will last almost forever.
Gluten Free Teiglach
High quality gluten-free flour is all the rage now so there is no excuse not to enjoy this wonderful holiday treat. Since there is no gluten, you must pay attention to a few details in the process.
First – start out by adding 1 cup of flour and then slowly adding more as you mix the dough. Your gluten-free dough will need to be a little softer than a regular dough since there is no gluten to bind and stretch.
Second – the psyllium husk powder is important, as it adds hydrating capacity to the flour and will help with rolling out the dough.
Third – don’t overwork the dough when you roll it out – without gluten to provide the stretchy elastic resilience, over-rolling will compress and harden the dough and make the teiglach hard and crunchy.
Fourth – do a taste test after the first 30 minutes of cooking. Gluten-free teiglach tend to cook faster and reach the ready point much more rapidly than regular teiglach.
2 Tsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Psyllium Husk Powder
2 Cups Krusteaz or other premium gluten-free flour
Raisins or other dried fruit
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Sugar
2-3 Tbsp Ground Ginger
½ Cup Boiling Water
2 more Tsp Ground Ginger
Proceed as for regular teiglach, making sure to mix the psyllium husk powder and baking powder into the flour before adding it to the liquids. Remember to do a taste test at the 30 minute mark.
Honey – Ginger Zabayon
Of all the fun things to do with honey, this is possibly the most fun of all. This light whipped cream-like topping is heavenly on ice cream, sorbet, cakes of all kinds, or just eaten out of a glass with some fresh fruit. It is especially yummy if you choose an interesting honey like lavender or wildflower.
A zabayon (or sabayon) is basically eggs and sugar whipped together over simmering water until the eggs cook but do not harden. Flavors and liqueurs are added, and then the entire thing is either eaten as is or lightened with whipped cream to make a fluffy mousse-like substance.
Zabayon is easy once you know how, and is sure to knock the socks off anyone you invite to dinner.
8 Egg Yolks
6 oz Baker’s Sugar (take regular sugar and grind it in the food processor to pulverize the granules)
3 oz Honey
½ Cup Champagne
½ Tsp Peeled and Minced Ginger Root
2 Cups Whipped Cream, whipped to firm (not stiff) peaks
Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl set over simmering water and whisk until pale and thick (this may take a while – when the surface bubbles go away and the surface of the liquid looks glossy, you are getting close). The longer you stir and thicken, the firmer the cooled mixture will be. Immediately transfer to a bowl set over ice and whisk until cool. Fold in the whipped cream and ginger.
Serve over fresh fruit, by itself with a drizzle of Sabra liqueur, or cover and keep in the fridge for a couple of days before eating.
Passover is one of the most popular Jewish holidays. One way we celebrate is by going to a very special dinner party called a Seder. We read a script from a book called a Haggadah which urges us to try foods we don’t usually eat, encourages us to ask questions, play with our food and even slouch in our chairs! Why? Why indeed!
Long, long ago, there was not enough food to share in the land of Canaan which today is called Israel. The Israelites of Canaan traveled for many days to live in Egypt where there was plenty of food. Welcomed as honored guests by the Egyptian king, the Pharaoh, they ended up living in Egypt for many, many years where they became excellent farmers and shepherds. How many years? Over 400 years!
After all those years, a new Pharaoh was unhappy that the Pharaoh from long ago let the Israelites stay in Egypt. The new Pharaoh was afraid there were so many Israelites that they would become the rulers over the Egyptians, when all they wanted was to raise their flocks. When Pharaoh needed buildings and statues to be built for his cities, he decided the Israelites should do all the work. They became his slaves! Making bricks and pulling heavy loads, they worked for hours and hours under the hot sun with very little food and water.
By adding more and more cruel burdens, Pharaoh made life extremely hard for the Israelites. The Torah teaches us that God realized it was time to get them out of Egypt. Knowing that the Israelites would be more likely to listen to one of their own, God picked a young man named Moses by speaking to him from a burning bush! Amazed that the bush burned without turning to ash, Moses knew God was strong, but he did not feel strong enough to be a hero. God told Moses that his brother Aaron would help him.
Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh to deliver God’s message: “Let my people go!” Pharaoh answered, “No!” God caused Moses’ walking stick to become a snake but Pharaoh just made the slaves work harder. Since God wanted to change Pharaoh’s mind by showing him what it felt like to be treated badly, God created plagues like frogs and darkness. During each plague, Moses and Aaron said, “Let my people go!” Terrified, Pharaoh said, “Yes!” but he changed his mind and said, “No!” when each plague stopped.
Finally, the last plague was so terrible that when Moses and Aaron said “Let my people go!” Pharaoh answered “Yes!” and meant it this time. Or he thought he meant it until after the Israelites left. Pharaoh asked, “Who will build my cities for free?” He and his army chased after the Israelites to bring them back. Thinking that it would be easy to catch them at the shore of the sea, the Egyptians were astonished to see the Israelites crossing through on dry land! God had caused the water to separate – the biggest miracle yet!
Moses, Aaron, their sister Miriam and all the Israelites sang and danced to celebrate their escape from slavery. Today, we gather around our Seder tables to celebrate that great escape by retelling the story and imagining that we lived through the miracles!