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Beth-El Happenings for May


Addressing Hunger, One Meal at a Time: Teen Class Retreat

By Ramona L. Brand, Director of Youth Learning

On March 26 and 27, our teen students, under the direction of teen teacher, Ben Nachman, held their first weekend retreat in three years! The teens, with Ben and Rabbi Knopf, spent several weeks preparing for the weekend, by learning about hunger issues, and about RVA Community Fridges.

This local mutual-aid network organization assists in combating local hunger at a grassroots level and encourages community participation and community building. In preparation, the group set a target goal of preparing 10 ready-t- eat meals and divvied up the ingredients list to donate.

On Saturday, March 26, they met at the school for Havdalah with Ben, Ramona Brand, Rabbi Knopf, Cantor Rosenblatt and middle school teacher and youth group advisor, Brandon Metheny. After a short ceremony, they rolled up their sleeves and dove into chef mode. They prepared homemade hummus, white bean salad, chocolate chip cookies and pita and prepared ten meal platters.

On Sunday, March 27, the students met at the Oakwood Community Fridge and spoke with Qui Nguyen, a volunteer from the group who explained their response to food insecurity within the Richmond community.

RVA Community Fridges sets up fridges and pantries across the Richmond area and turns them over to the community to stock, clean, repair, and, of course, take from with no questions asked.

The students then walked from the Oakwood Community Fridge to the Chimborazo Community Garden (another community response to food insecurity) and discussed the relationship between socioeconomics, food deserts, Richmond’s Jewish history, Jewish text, and our role in dealing with hunger as members of the Richmond community.

Following that, the students spent the rest of the program at TopGolf relaxing, socializing, and eating lunch. In all, the goal was for students to come away having a practical and non-abstract image of what communities can do to battle food insecurity and why that matters from a Jewish perspective.

To learn more about RVA Community Fridges and how your family could participate in fighting hunger in our community, visit https://www.facebook.com/rvacommunityfridges/

Global Jewish Festival Family Event: May 15

Global Jewish Peoplehood has been a focus of our Judaics curriculum during this school year. This program introduced our students to the broad range of Jewish communities around the world.

Our students have been taking a whirlwind tour covering many Jewish cultures and learning about them in context to our traditions, holidays, and values. We have been exploring the importance of ‘expanding the tent’ and recognizing the rich tapestry that is the Jewish people.

As a culmination of this year’s program, we will be celebrating with a Global Jewish Festival on Sunday, May 15 at the religious school. This family event will include activities include a speakers panel, food tasting, a henna station, drum circle, music, games, crafts, and educational stations that will enhance the understanding of Jewish culture and practice around the world.

This exciting program was made possible by a generous grant from the Rachel B. Banks fund of Jewish Richmond Foundation.

Date: Sunday, May 15

Location: Brown Religious School

Time: 10 a.m. –  noon

This is a family event. Parents attend with their children.

May Religious School Calendar:

Sundays: May 1, 15, 22

Wednesdays:  May 4, 11, 18

Contact Ramona L. Brand at (804) 355-3564 ext. 111 or r.brand@bethelrichmond.org  to learn more about our vibrant Jewish education and our remarkable congregation or visit http://www.bethelrichmond.org/education/brown-religious-school/  to find a registration form.

 Temple Beth-El Tot Shabbat Services: May 7

Celebrate Shabbat in Nature!! Listen to the birds and feel the sun on your face as we gather to sing, pray. Open to the entire community.

Bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs.

Time: 10–11 a.m. Location: meet behind the VMFA on the Grove side of the lawn/ WEATHER PERMITTING

To confirm: email r.brand@bethelrichmond.org

Pictured at the top, Beth-El student Chloe along  with Anne Blankman who is a   National Jewish Book Award winner and local author. She visited the delighted 6th and 7th grade students on March 20 to discuss her book “The Blackbird Girls.” After her presentation, she signed books for the students. The books and her program were made possible by a generous grant from the Brenda Zimm Oscar and Melvin Zimm Memorial Holocaust Education Fund and the Richmond Jewish Foundation.

See more pictures of Beth-El teens preparing and deliver food to the Oakwood Community fridge as part of this year’s retreat as well as students getting ready for Passover with a variety of fun and delicious projects. 

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