Congregation Beth Shalom ~ January 20, 2021 ~ ~ 573-499-4855

deadline for eShalom is Wednesday each week
Shabbat Services
Friday Night/Erev Shabbat
Rabbi Phil Cohen leads Kabbalat Shabbat services via Zoom at 6:30 pm.

Saturday Morning
Rabbi Cohen leads services in the Conservative tradition via Zoom at 10 am.


Parashat Yitro
Torah – Exodus/Shemot 18:1-20:23

Haftarah – Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6

Here are links to this week’s texts via Sefaria: 
Haftarah: and

– Deborah Zemke
Coming Up
Tu b’Sh’vat Seder & Ceremony Sunday, January 23 @ 10 am
Loaves & Fishes Sunday, January 30 @ 4:15 pm
CBS Board Meeting Thursday, February 3 @ 7 pm
Trivia with the Tribe Saturday, February 19 @ 6:30 pm
Seminarion Mondays @ 7 pm
Tefilah Tuesdays @ 7 pm –
Hebrew Bible with Howard Lidsky Sundays @ noon @ CBS
See the CBS calendar here:
Send calendar items to Mary at
Religious School & Youth Group
Religious and Hebrew schools and youth group will not meet for the next two weeks due to the surge in Covid cases in Columbia.

The two weeks will be made up at the end of the school year. Debbie Kaplan is sending emails with updated information to school and youth group families.

Erev Shabbat at CBS
21 – POSTPONED Musical Shabbat with Andy and BelleAnne Curry – WILL BE RESCHEDULED

4 – Services led by religious school students (Zoom only)

from Rabbi Phil Cohen
            My colleague Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker has become a celebrity because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, though it’s undoubtedly a celebrity he’d rather not have earned. 
            He’s also become a symbol for a growing series of anti-semitic events which serve as unpleasant reminders that what we once believed was a diminishing phenomenon, Jew hatred, was only hibernating, and has returned full force, this time in a small Texas town.
I find myself reflecting on how strange it is to be part of a people about whom others believe ridiculous but dangerous things.  The terrorist in Colleyville, Texas apparently believed that Jews possessed power that could enable them to intervene on behalf of a prisoner being held captive in a nearby prison. For that reason, apparently, he walked into a synagogue rather than some other building, and held these folks inside hostage until Rabbi Cytron-Miller engineered the hostages’ escape. Thank God that covid relegated attendees of that Shabbat morning’s service to their computer screen, and only four people were inside.
            So now we’ve experienced yet another incident in the growing list of the anti-semitic acts that fill the pages of the Anti-Defamation League’s books. We, the Jewish community, are chastened by the knowledge of the possibility that another shul in another part of the country might soon meet another person bent on violence against Jews for no other reason than that the occupants of that place are Jews.
            To this observation I need to add another wrinkle. Mid-Shabbat afternoon, as I was following the events in Colleyville, I received an email from Dr. Sabha Jalali, a good friend of the congregation, and a good friend of mine, I must add.  He suggested he and I conduct a service in support of the hostages, to which I readily agreed. I had not have thought of such a thing, and so I was and remain grateful that he reached out with that suggestion.  We held the brief service, which was very well attended, overwhelmingly by CBS members. I arrived home after the service to the great news that the hostages had been released unharmed.  (We later learned that their “release” was actually an escape, engineered by the rabbi.)
            But here’s my point.  The pain we Jews were feeling that afternoon was mirrored by someone not of the Jewish community, whose feelings led both to the service itself, and to converying a sense that we are not alone. No doubt that emotion is well experienced in Colleyville, as friends and neighbors of the Jews of the town are reaching out with expressions of support.
            There’s another point, however, a CBS-specific one.  Our own security measures are woefully inadequate, and we need to address the issue. We are vulnerable.  That we are vulnerable, of course, does not mean something will inevitably happen here. But our vulnerability does mean that, should something of a potentially violent nature unfold here, we are more likely to be harmed for our lack of preparation. 
            I am sure security will be a major item on the agenda at our next board meeting.
            Meanwhile, Shabbat shalom, stay warm and for the love of God stay healthy.  Wear a mask.

Shalom u’v’racah,
Rabbi Phil Cohen

Contact Rabbi Phil Cohen at or 716.481.7929
Tu b’Sh’vat

The Tikkun Olam committee, in conjunction with the CBS religious school, is planning a special program to launch a tree planting initiative on Sunday, January 23rd at 10 am (NOTE TIME CHANGE). We’ll have a seder with fruits and juice and learn about Tu b’Sh’vat.

In honor of Tu b’Shvat we’ll be adding six fruit trees to our “food forest” on the CBS property: three pawpaws and three chestnuts.

The planting ceremony itself, in keeping with local climate, will take place in April, probably just after Passover, with a special liturgy devised by Rabbi Cohen.  We will also plant an oak tree to replace the large oak that had to be taken down in the front of the property.

Details about the planting ceremony will be published closer to the date, so watch this space.

This coming Monday, January 24 at 7 pm I will begin a course on writing an ethical will.

What is an ethical will?

It’s a brief document that offers a window into the soul of the author, a creative summary of the lessons the authors have learned over the course of their lives.  These “legacy letters” often become a “treasured part of a family’s history,” as it says on the back of the book Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them.

During this course we will look at several such documents composed throughout history, and then write our own.

You will be invited to share your ethical will with the class, but it will not be a requirement, should you prefer to keep your writing private.


Rabbi Phil M. Cohen

Loaves & Fishes
Every fifth Sunday, CBS provides a full dinner to those in need through the Loaves & Fishes program. This month we are serving on January 30th, and we need donations of food items as well as volunteers to set up, serve, and clean up.

Bring food items to Wilkes Blvd. Methodist Church, 702 Wilkes Blvd. (back entrance), before 4:15 pm that day, and volunteers should arrive by 4:30 pm. We expect to serve about 100 people. A SignUpGenius for food needs and servers will be posted next week.

With questions, contact Noah at or Brent at

Trivia with the Tribe

Join all of your friends – virtually – at CBS for Trivia with the Tribe – 2022! The fun starts Saturday, February 19 at 6:30 pm and you don’t want to miss a minute of it!

So … Pester your pal in Poughkeepsie. Call your cousin in California. Heck – holler at your haughty honey on Hitt Street. All are welcome!  

This is your chance to show off your knowledge of the obscure and useless during 6 rounds of trivia. For sign-up information please visit

Questions? Please contact Marc Alexander at

Don’t miss out on the fun! See you soon on Zoom!

Room at the Inn
Room at the Inn, which provides nighttime shelter to the homeless during the winter, has started operations. Several area churches are rotating hosting of guests through early March. Because of COVID, organizers had to increase the number of paid staff. The program relies on volunteers, many from the faith community, to prepare meals, do light cleanup, help with check-in and other tasks. 
CBS provides financial support for the program, but volunteer support is still vital to its success. To volunteer, donate, or just learn more about Room at the Inn, check their website:
Speedy recovery to Julie Cummings
David & Ellen Gardner

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, the school scholarship fund or the sacred music 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.

Tell & Kvell!
Debbie & Carl Kaplan’s son Ben became engaged to Alicia Wagner.

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.

Don’t forget to get your 2021/22 pledge in. This can be done at the ShulCloud site:
or by mail and check. 
For assistance please contact the CBS office:
For ShulCloud help see Emily Fuller’s excellent tutorial:

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