Congregation Beth Shalom ~ June 24, 2021 ~ ~ 573-499-4855

deadline for eShalom is Wednesday each week
Contact Rabbi Phil Cohen at or 716.481.7929
Shabbat Services
Friday Night/Erev Shabbat
Rabbi Phil Cohen leads Kabbalat Shabbat services via Zoom at 6:30 pm.
Zoom: – Meeting ID: 841 2486 5329

Shabbat Morning

John Zemke leads Zoom Torah study at 11 am.
Join: ~ Meeting ID: 844 9116 7901

Parashat Balak

Torah – Numbers/Bamidbar 22:2-25:9
Haftarah – Micah 5:6-6:8

Here are links to this week's texts via Sefaria:

Coming Up
Sisterhood Summer Programs (below)
CBS Book Club Sunday, June 27 @ 3 pm
Seminarion Mondays @ 7:30 pm – cancelled 6/28 & 7/5
Tefilah Tuesdays @ 7 pm – cancelled 6/29 & 7/6
CBS Reopening
CBS is open! We continue to Zoom weekly Shabbat services, and we also are in-person every other week in the sanctuary for both Friday evening and Saturday morning services.

Shabbat services and Torah study this weekend, June 25th and June 26th, will be held via Zoom.

from Rabbi Phil Cohen
It’s been nearly a year since I found my way to Columbia, MO and CBS.
And it’s been a year.
I don’t know how many times I’ve thanked God for Zoom. It’s not newsworthy—Zoom’s been our lifeblood. But take a moment, if you haven’t already, to consider how this meeting platform provided the means to communicate in so many ways. We prayed together, sang together, studied, played, had bar and bat mitzvahs, mourned, watched plays, passed budgets, gossiped—all that and more courtesy of Zoom.
And it wasn’t all terrible. This state of being enabled us to bring in speakers and singers to do programs from Brooklyn, Boston, Manhattan, New Jersey, St. Louis, Santa Fe, Greensboro (thrice!), California, Montreal, and other places that not coming to mind. When was the last time in the history of this shul we had such a roundup? (Answer: never!)
Now normalcy is on the rebound. We’ve begun meeting again in our sanctuary for Shabbat, not to mention that the watercolor gang has returned in person to create art.
As I said, it’s been a year, and I’ve begun to meet you in person as we begin our second year together. More than once I’ve had the experience of meeting those of you who have been familiar Zoom presences in person, and, strangely, I don’t recognize you. When the Zoom rectangle takes human form somehow, you’re not exactly the same. I expect the reverse is also the case. The usual comment I get is, “Rabbi, you’re so much better looking in person.”
I have various observations and suggestions I’d like to make, but I’m going to deliver them over the course of the next few weeks. For now, let me say simply, I’ve enjoyed being the Zoomer Rav of Columbia, but am looking forward to being just the regular ole rabbi in the coming year.
Let me conclude with a program I’d like to conduct in the next year.
Twice in my career I’ve taught an adult bar/bat mitzvah class. It should actually be bat/bar mitzvah, as most students have been women. I’d like to teach such a class here. Beginning after the High Holy Days, it would conclude in the spring with a group celebration.
Right now, I’m announcing my intentions. Give some thought to participating. Alredy had a bar or bat but would like a course that serves as a broad Judaism class? Consider this as an adult Confirmation class.
If the idea has some merit in your sight, consider joining. Questions? Consider asking. If I get a small group interested in such a project, we’ll do it. For those in such a class, it would be a good way frame the next year here at CBS.

Rabbi Phil M. Cohen Ph.D.
URJ/CBS Survey

Dear Folks,

By now we trust that you received an email with a link to the Congregational Survey. CBS is partnering with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) to use this survey, a free benefit of our URJ membership, for the following reasons:

  • Provide guidance to the Rabbinical Search Committee
  • Help us understand the priorities and needs of our community
  • Create local/national benchmarks against which to measure ourselves
  • Provide input into the process of continuous synagogue improvement and planning

We hope that you've already completed and submitted this digital survey. If you haven't, we encourage you to do so. Your input is valuable information, and as an added benefit CBS will be provided a URJ mentor to help us develop an action plan based on the results of the survey.

If you did not receive the email with the survey link, please check your junk email. It came from Janna Lancaster, Seth Rosner and Judy Schermer and is dated June 9. If you did not receive it, please contact Judy Schermer,, 573-268-8910.

The survey will close June 29. We’re counting on you to help us co-create a CBS that fulfills the needs, wishes and vision of each and every one of us for a spiritual home in Columbia. With thanks in advance for your participation,

Janna Lancaster

Seth Rosner

Judy Schermer

CBS Book Club
We are meeting next on Sunday, June 27th, at 3 pm via Zoom. A Zoom invitation for the meeting will be sent closer to the meeting. We are reading Bess Kalb’s ode to her grandmother, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me. This is a Bubbe you will not forget!

For those who like to read ahead, we have already chosen books for the August and October meetings. On Sunday, August 15th, at 3 pm we will be discussing a book highly recommended for reading prior to the High Holy Days. It is This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared by Alan Lew. Please note this book is not currently available at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. Judy Schermer has donated three copies of the book which you can arrange to borrow by calling her at 573.268.8910. Thank you, Judy!

On Sunday, October 17th, at 3 pm we will return to World War II era fiction. We will read the highly acclaimed novel, The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner.The book is widely available in libraries and has ebook and audible versions which can be borrowed.

This last year has been long, isolating, and lonely for many. Like the rest of our society, we need to transition safely to programming that will bring us together and nurture our body and soul.

This summer we are planning some great programs:

Yoga * Meditation * Friendship
Monday, July 12 @ 7 pm – Yoga and Meditation
Let’s meet at CBS with our yoga mats and spend time taking care of body and soul. Stick around for refreshments and chat with friends.
Crafting * Food * Friendship
Monday, June 28 & July 26 @ 7 pm – Crafting with Friends
Bring your craft projects or start a new one with your CBS sisters. Enjoy refreshments and get your creativity flowing.
* Beginning Mah-Jongg *
Sisterhood has a long tradition of Mah-Jongg matches and tournaments. It’s time to raise the next generation of players. Are you interested in learning? Now’s your chance!
Mandana Hakimi offers instruction for beginners – next session TBA.
* Covid Considerations *
Are masks required? Inside the building: yes. Outside: optional
Are the programs indoors? Depends on the weather; if indoors, masks are required.
Will we be social distancing? Yes, unless masks are worn.
Are vaccinations required to attend? No.
Lunch in the Park
The Voluntary Action Center is coordinating the Lunch in the Park program again this year, and CBS is invited to participate. Volunteers assemble and serve sack lunches to children in the Douglass Park shelter, 400 N Providence Rd, and they are welcome to interact with the children as well.

We are signed up for these dates: July 6, 7, 14, 20, 21 and 27.

This year the lunches will be served from 12 noon to 1 pm, so volunteers should be at Douglass by 11:45 am and plan on staying no later than 1:15 pm.

Here’s the sign-up link:

Rainmakers Needed!
With the arrival of the hot summer temperatures, please help keep the memorial garden at CBS growing by help lending a hand with the watering. The memorial garden is the two flower beds by the entrance to the new building.

You can sign up to water on one or more days here:

If you have questions, please contact Tanya Christiansen at Thanks for your help!

CBS Library
We're excited to start gathering again, and making the library more accessible both in-person and online. In order to do that, we need…YOU! We have over 3,000 books in the library that need to be entered into our new online catalog–work that can be done at home on your own time. And the more volunteers we have, the less work each needs to do!

If you're interested in doing some data entry work this summer, please email Jenn Book Haselswerdt at

Seminarion and Tefilah Tuesdays
Seminarion and Tefilah Tuesdays cancelled 6/28 & 7/5 and 6/29 & 7/6 respectively

Seminarion: Are you Reform? Conservative? Orthodox? Reconstructionist? Or … ?

We're looking at the history and meaning of the movements in Judaism, and the interrelationships of the branches.

We meet at 7:30 pm on Monday evenings.
Join in on Zoom:

Tefilah Tuesdays: Rabbi Cohen offers a brief evening service at 7 pm Tuesday evenings. Join in for singing, Maariv service and schmoozing. Here’s the link:

There is a long tradition to memorialize the life cycles of our families with an inscribed plaque mounted on the walls of our sanctuary. To honor a birth, wedding, anniversary, etc., and to remember a loved one who has passed allows our Jewish community to share in this event. This is also a helpful fundraiser. Please contact Rebecca Smith at 573-449-7391 for assistance.

Donations of $250 per plaque for the memorial and simcha boards can be sent to CBS at the address below.

Donations to CBS are a good way to remember or honor people and special life events. Your gift can be directed to the CBS general fund, the rabbi’s discretionary fund (RDF), the library, the Sasha Yelon book fund or the school scholarship fund.

Send a check to CBS, 500 W Green Meadows Rd, Columbia 65203, with a note with details about honorees and where you’d like the notification sent. We’ll send a handwritten card as you direct.

Interfaith Garden
The Interfaith Garden, located just past the CBS south parking lot, has started work on preparing the soil and planting spring crops. Each year CBS partners with members of the Newman Center to plant and harvest the garden, and the produce we grow is donated to the food bank. Last year we provided over 1500 pounds of fresh food.
We are wearing masks and working at a distance from one another to stay safe. There are no age requirements, nor is previous experience in gardening needed.
Currently we have workdays on Sundays from 10 am to noon. There will also be a workday during the week – days and times will be published in eShalom once determined. Some of our volunteers, once they are familiar with our operations, come out at other times, but not during Shabbat.
If you have interest in participating or questions, please contact any of the CBS coordinators: Michael Gold (,) Julie Deering (, or Brent Lowenberg (
Tell & Kvell!
Bryony Abigail and Robert MacGregor are kvelling over the academic successes of their grandson, Robert Ari. He has posted high scores – well above his age level – on several standardized tests and competed in academic bowls and contests.

Mazal tov to all!

Have you received an award or a promotion, welcomed a new child to your family, or otherwise have reason to kvell? Share your good news with your CBS friends. Send an email to Mary at to include in eShalom.

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