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Quarantine Kitchen: Israeli Vegetable Salad with Pita, Zaatar, and Labneh

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

On warm summer days, everyone appreciates a cool meal, or at least a cool side-dish, to take the heat away from your body and to chill down emotions and feelings. So here is a simple Israeli salad that has served as a staple of Israel dining tables for many decades. The addition of the pita bread, the zaatar spice mix, and the labneh yogurt cheese is just a sense of the fun one can have with Middle Eastern cooking. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 fresh medium tomatoes, chopped or cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 decent-sized cucumber, chopped or cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped or cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 medium to large red onion, chopped or cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 whole carrot, chopped or cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 30 (approximately) mint leaves chopped chiffonade style, enough to make about ¼ cup packed.
  • 2/3 bunch of fresh parsley, rough chopped, for about 1 cup’s worth.
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice from 1.5 lemons
  • 5 tbsp of Olive oil
  • Zaatar spice blend (optional)
  • Sumac (optional)
  • ¾ lb labneh yogurt cheese
  • Whole wheat pita bread cut into triangles

Preparation:

In a large bowl, mix together all the vegetables, lightly salting and peppering to taste. Be sure to keep the liquid from the vegetables in the bowl.

When the vegetables are uniformly mixed, add pepper to taste, the oil, and lemon juice, and continue to nix more.

Now, toss in the mint and parsley and mix again.

Quarantine Kitchen: Ice Cream Watermelon

Leslie Coff

Shopping List:

  • Two pints green ice cream/sorbet
  • Two pints pink ice cream/sorbet
  • ½ cup chocolate chips.
  • Glass or metal bowl (metal preferred) around 6-8” diameter
  • Serving plate

 

Recipe:

Allow the green ice cream to soften slightly, empty into the bowl and use a spoon or spatula to line the bowl with the ice cream, about ½” thick. This will be the “rind” of the watermelon.

Put bowl into freezer to harden the ‘rind’ of the ‘watermelon’.

Allow the pink ice cream to soften a bit, mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Remove bowl from freezer. Add the softened pink ice cream mixed with chips...and fill ‘rind’ with pink filling.

Refreeze.

After it hardens, when ready to serve, fill a larger bowl with hot water. Dip the bottom of the ice cream watermelon bowl into the hot water momentarily.

Upturn onto a serving plate. Garnish with mint leaves or flowers or sprinkles.

Slice dome into ‘watermelon’ slices and serve immediately.

 

 

Thank You to Our 80th Anniversary Sponsors

The third event of our 80th anniversary celebration, originally scheduled for June 27, unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to support the following businesses that generously sponsored our 80th anniversary celebration series throughout the year.

Platinum Level
Celebrations Entertainment
Dewitt LLP Law Firm
Rocky Rococo Pizza and Pasta

Gold Level
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
Great Dane Pub and Brewing Co.
Johnson Financial Group

Silver Level
Best Defense Fire Protection & Security
Camp Interlaken JCC
Madison Computer Works
Tree Health Management
URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute
Willy Street Co-op

Bronze Level
Ayelet Tours
Bauer & Raether Builders
Crystal Cleaners
Destree Architecture and Design
Hausmann-Johnson Insurance
Images Plus
Lake Mills Cleaners and Dyers Inc.
Meicher CPAs
Metcalfe’s
Sergenian’s Floor Coverings
Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic
Squeaky Clean Window Washing

New Temple Community Contribution Program Coming Soon

At TBE, many of our most meaningful experiences happen when we gather, worship, study, and work for social justice together. These four foundational values—embodied in the view of our congregation as a beit knesset (house of community), beit t’filah (house of worship), beit midrash (house of learning), and beit tzedek (house of justice)—support our synagogue life and bind us together as Jews.

Over the past few months we have seen these foundational values at work as we connected with each other in new ways. Soon, they will guide us on another new part of our journey.

After years of detailed analysis, and in line with many other Reform congregations, we are preparing to adopt a new system for membership contributions that will better reflect our authentic sense of community, while encouraging all of us to invest in the values that support and sustain a Reform Jewish presence in Madison. While the amount of your annual contribution might not change, we hope that the reasons for your financial support will better align with the values you most hold dear.

In preparation for this change, we encourage you to reflect on the many reasons for your involvement in Jewish life. Being a part of Temple Beth El involves embarking into a relationship of responsibility for each other. We engage with one another when we participate in family groups or study groups, when we strive to better our world through volunteer opportunities and to guide our congregation through leadership or committee involvement, and in the moments when we draw inspiration from worship alongside our fellow congregants.

All of these experiences represent our covenant with one another—our dedication to making Temple Beth El a place where we fulfill our Reform Jewish values. The new Temple Community Contribution program will encourage all of us to reflect on this covenant as we consider our annual contributions, both financial and nonfinancial.

More information about the Temple Community Contribution will be coming by mail in July, in preparation for the membership renewal process beginning in October. We will also hold information sessions in August and December.

Pride Friendship Bracelets

Jen Szlasa

Each year for Pride Shabbat, we like to bring an accessible craft to the community. We try to make sure there are varying levels of difficulty to keep people of all ages engaged. Last year we accomplished that with a variety of designs to create your own rainbow yarmulke. This year, I’ll outline friendship bracelets, three ways. The first will be the simplest method: a 6-strand rainbow candy stripe. The second will be a 12-strand chevron. The third will be an alphabet pattern spelling out LOVE–AHAVAH in rainbow colors. Feel free to scroll down to whichever pattern/level of difficulty you’d prefer.

First up, you’ll need some string. My favorite is DMC, and here are the color IDs if you’re looking for an easy way to order online. They also have great photos of the entire palette on their website if you’re looking for a precise shade. Local shops can easily retrieve the floss by color name/ID for curbside pickup.

Candy Stripe

Start by cutting about 3 feet of each color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. Tie a knot at the end.

At this point, I sometimes include a safety pin in the knot to clip the bracelet to my clothing and keep it taut as I tie the knots. For this demo, I’ll be using a clipboard, which achieves the same goal.

If you’re adding a safety pin, do so now, and attach it to a pant leg to keep the bracelet in place and with you on the go. Alternative methods of securing the knot include the clipboard below or just taping the bracelet to your work surface. Spread out the colors, red to violet.

For the candy stripe, you’ll be using the same knot over and over again. It looks like this: arrange the two strings in the shape of a 4 by bringing the left string over the right and wrapping it underneath the right string (see figure below). Then repeat this same process again with those strings. This completes the “forward knot.” This knot swaps the position of the two colors so you can work a stripe across the whole bracelet. The entire bracelet will consist of forward knots with each color working your way from red to violet in succession.

Forward knot: Take the red string, and tuck it under the orange string, then pull the knot tight, all the way to the top of the bracelet.

The knots may not look perfect on your first row. Don’t worry about it! Keep going one color at a time.

Once you get through the rainbow once, just keep repeating until the bracelet reaches your desired length!

Rainbow Chevron

This will be largely the same as the candy stripe, but with a second knot variety and more strings to track. You’ll want to slightly more than double the length of string that was used for the first bracelet since they’ll be halved to make the pattern—approximately 7 feet should work. Again, you’ll want one of each color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. Tie a knot roughly the same as before, but leave a loop to help with tying the bracelet later.

Fasten the bracelet:

Arrange your strings in rainbow order starting from the middle. This will result in the red appearing to be the top once the chevron forms.

Start tying the forward knot across the strings from left to right. The first row of knots is the most important because it sets the order of the remaining strands. Start by tying violet over blue, then green, then yellow, then orange, then red.

Then tie a backward knot starting at the right-hand side and working your way through the same colors from right to left: blue, green, yellow, orange, red. If you need help visualizing the backward knot, I’ve included it below for the red string.

At this point, you’ll have your two violet strands in the middle. It doesn’t matter what knot you tie here since both strands are the same color. Continue the pattern with the remaining strings.

Forward knot:

Backward knot:

LOVE–AHAVAH Alphabet Pattern

This last pattern is for an alphabet-style bracelet. Unlike the other patterns, this one consists of one very long string weaving back and forth across rows of background colors. Cut each color of the rainbow plus two black strands about 3 feet long. Measure about 9 feet of black string as the leading strand. Tie a knot at the top and fasten like the other examples. Arrange in rainbow order with one black strand on each far side and the long strand at the left.

Start with the leading (long black) string, tying forward knots across the rainbow strands left to right, slightly angling the knots to keep the line straight. Then tie backwards knots from right to left to establish the foreground color. The colored knots appear by tying a knot in the opposite direction to the leading strand. For example, for the L, start with a forward knot tied with the leading strand, then tie backward knots with each of the rainbow colors (red, then orange, then yellow, etc.) to get the vertical line of the L. Then tie a forward and a backward knot with the long background strand on the right black strand. Work your way back from right to left tying backward knots using the leading strand, tying a forward knot with the red to start the horizontal part of the L. Continue with this method to complete the entire words: LOVE–AHAVAH

Friendship bracelet pattern: I flipped the rainbow on my bracelet, but both orientations work great!

I went ahead and added a candy stripe at the end just for a fun flourish. Feel free to get creative with the pattern once you learn the basic knots!

Learn More about the Issues: What We’re Reading

Social Action Committee members have been using their time at home to get caught up on reading. Here are reviews of three social justice titles.

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, by Carol Anderson

I was interested in reading this book after hearing a presentation by the author at the Book Festival here in Madison a year ago or so. By the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Professor Anderson’s book is, in the words of one reviewer, “impeccably researched, deftly written and, sadly, prescient.” I would also add the word passionate. It’s a rare but incredibly effective combination to read a book that is both highly credible, due to its painstaking research, and fiery in its narrative. Gerrymandering, voter ID laws, closure of polling places, limiting early voting, and resisting vote-by-mail are just some of the tactics she chronicles in this deeply disturbing book. It’s a quick read, at only 160 pages (followed by more than 100 pages of notes).

As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I have been horrified to see how much of our progressive tradition has been rolled back in the last 10 years or so, and the assault on the right to vote means Wisconsin joins the ranks of the other states Professor Anderson calls out in her book. In other words, if anyone thought that suppressing the vote of African Americans, Latinos, and other communities of color was only a southern-state thing, think again. Over and over this book made me drop my jaw, gasp, shake my head in disgust, and—most of all—propel me to action. I hope you’ll read it and join in the battle against these clearly racist efforts. No less than our democracy is at stake. —Betsy Abramson

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story, by Aaron Bobrow-Strain

This book tells the story of a young, single, undocumented mother as she struggles to gain legal residency in the United States. It is a highly emotional and gripping story that allows us to go deeper into appreciating what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant. The main character, Aida, is a complex person, and we grow to understand the choices she makes as we see the almost unimaginable trauma she goes through, both in her personal life and as a result of our cruel immigration policies. She perseveres in the face of all of this, wanting above all to give her young son a good life.

What made this book even more compelling for me is the weaving in of history, politics, and economics, which broadened my awareness of how our current immigration situation developed. Of note is the fact that this book is part of Dane Sanctuary Coalition’s “Big Read,” and the author is scheduled to speak in Madison on October 8. The Immigrant Rights Action Team facilitated a discussion of the book on May 26 with a possible additional one later in the summer if we get more interest. I highly recommend this book! —Lynn Silverman

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crimeis a hilariously funny, heartbreaking, and inspiring memoir about growing up in South Africa living under apartheid and its turbulent aftermath. Born in 1984 to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, Noah’s very existence was a crime under apartheid’s brutal laws. His narrative seamlessly interweaves comedy and tragedy as it takes us through his early family life, troubled school years, relationship with an abusive stepfather, and even a brief stint in jail before moving on to his remarkable later successes as a stand-up comedian and the astute social commentator who has hosted The Daily Showsince 2015.

The odds seemed stacked against Noah as they were and continue to be against the majority of South Africa’s black citizens, who are frequently trapped by the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and who continue to face poverty, oppression, violence, racism, and severely limited opportunities. Noah credits his success to his mother, who served as a powerful buffer against the brutality of the world they inhabited with her fiercely indomitable spirit and unconventional, uncompromising love. Born a Crimemakes for an extremely engaging, enjoyable, and fast-paced read. It not only provides an engrossing personal story of transcending trauma, but exposes the legacy of the damage inflicted by apartheid with excruciating honesty. If you listen to the audiobook, the author’s narration makes this remarkable story even more compelling. —Erica Serlin

 

Volunteer Opportunities and Partner Program Updates

Last month we did a survey of our partner programs to see what they had done to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and what kind of support they needed. Here are updates on a few of these programs.

Catholic Multicultural Center

The Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) meal program is currently a grab-and-go meal for guests to take with them from the CMC parking lot. Our volunteers are now cooking (in their homes) and dropping off meals every other Wednesday to meet the growing need. We cook meals for 80+ people by sharing recipes and dividing up the work. If you are interested in preparing food at home for delivery to CMC, please use the sign up genius link. Contact Sue Levy at 608-273-4527 if you have any questions.

Many thanks to the excellent Temple cooks who have already cooked at least 350 meals for appreciative Madisonians at Catholic Multicultural Center who needed a helping hand.

Porchlight

Porchlight has opened two new shelters to provide more housing and to separate men who are sick from those who are healthy. The Food Fight restaurant group provides catered meals for both shelters, so no meals are currently needed from volunteers. The Warner Park shelter is working well while serving anywhere from 65 to 95 men per night. They are in need of volunteers to do the nightly health assessments at the Warner Park Men’s shelter, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at 1625 Northport Drive. Volunteers will be given gloves and N95 masks and training. If interested, please email Kim Sutter.

Porchlight has been in the news lately:
You can read about their innovative COVID-19 screening process in this article from U.S. News and World Report.

The Wisconsin State Journal offers an in-depth look at the city’s exploration of alternatives to the prior program providing shelter in church basements.

And this PBS article talks about the impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing homelessness in Wisconsin.

Healing House

Healing House is operating and has implemented safety protocols. They are working closely with city and county staff and other homeless service providers to keep residents safe. So far the congregational meal program is continuing in modified form as volunteers drop off uncooked meals to be cooked by staff. TBE will be cooking meals next during the week of August 9 to August 15. You can sign up to volunteer here.

Thoreau and Emerson Elementary Schools

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is asking people to support MMSD families by volunteering with their partner agency, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. In order to meet the food needs of vulnerable families while protecting the health and safety of volunteers, Second Harvest has moved to the distribution of pre-boxed groceries, calling it their “Care Box Campaign.” You can support this campaign by donating or volunteering your time. Sign up here to volunteer and here to donate.

United Way Volunteer Opportunities

United Way of Dane County has compiled a list of volunteer opportunities specifically needed during the pandemic. United Way also offers a guide to safe practices for volunteering your time and donating material goods. They are currently looking for hospice visitors, food bank warehouse workers, virtual home check-ins for seniors, meals on wheels delivery, virtual ESL and literacy tutoring, food pantry gardeners, and many other positions.

Solidarity with the African American Community after the Death of George Floyd

On May 29, Rabbi Jonathan Biatch and Rabbi Bonnie Margulis sent this letter to leaders in the African American community of Madison in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis:

Dearest friends and colleagues,

Our words fail us, but our outrage and horror haunt us again when, at this terrible time, yet another African American has been killed at the hands of the police. We cannot imagine the pain and anger, frustration and outrage you must be feeling. The murder of George Floyd is abhorrent, as is the lack of accountability on the part of the police department and the city government. There is no adequate consolation that we can offer for the violence, the death, the manifestation of systemic racism blatantly at work here. Yet, we stand with you and pledge to act with you in protesting these outrageous acts of inhumanity. We are taught to love our fellow as we love ourselves, and we are completely distraught that many Americans have failed to learn this lesson.

Please know that we in the Jewish community and in Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice are prepared to stand with you in whatever way you feel would be the most helpful. We sincerely thank you for your leadership in the Madison community.

We know there is more we can do, and we stand by with our love, our energy, and our substance to be of assistance. The Social Action Committee met on Thursday, June 4, to explore ways that we can support the African American community in the struggle for justice.

As our Racial Justice Action Team continues its advocacy work, we hope you will join us in moving the country to becoming a place of peace and wholeness for all. Please contact Betsy Abramson.

Controversy Continues over Pandemic Restrictions 

As COVID-19 precautions move into a new phase, Temple Beth El has created a task force toestablish safe practices as we prepare for a gradual return to communal life. On the national level, controversy has grown over whether houses of worship should be allowed to reopen for large gatherings. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on May 22 on behalf of the Reform Jewish Movement:

“We have known for millennia that houses of worship are essential institutions. While we long to gather in person, we believe that there is no higher value than pikuach nefesh, saving a life. We are entrusted with the holy responsibility of being God’s partners in that work. The Reform Jewish Movement will continue to look to the wisdom of medical professionals to guide us on when reopening our synagogues can be done safely in keeping with our values.”

Rabbi Jacobs’s view is shared by many faith leaders in Wisconsin. These leaders spoke out in April by signing an amicus brief to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in favor of maintaining the Safer at Home order. The brief was supported by 131clergy and faith leaders—Protestants, Catholics, Quakers, Jews, and Buddhists—refuting the lawsuit’s contention that the order led to “decreased access to community and religious support.” The brief included 29 letters describing the strength, resiliency, and creativity of faith communities in moving their worship, pastoral care, religious instruction, and programming online. The statements highlighted how moving online made worship and other activities more rather than less accessible to those who would otherwise have been unable to participate due to age, disability, or geographic distance. Despite the disadvantages of not gathering in person, these religious leaders share a commitment to avoid putting members or anyone else at physical risk.The amicus brief was filed by Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, of which the TBE Social Action Committee is a supporting member.

Good News from Jewish Social Services: The Welcoming Tradition Continues

by Rabbi Renee Bauer, JSS Community Chaplain

In a time when challenging news and disappointments permeate the airwaves and immigration to the United States has essentially been halted, we are delighted to be helping newcomers become lawful permanent residents of the United States. Since the Safer at Home order went into effect in mid-March, five JSS clients have received their green cards, and Carrie Fox-Kline, director of immigration legal services at JSS, has submitted nine more applications.

Most of these green cards are for refugees we have resettled. Refugees can apply for a green card a year after arriving in the United States. In my experience with our refugee clients, many of them are focused on the goal of becoming citizens and anxiously await becoming lawful permanent residents. This status is the first step toward citizenship and creates a deepening sense of being settled and safe in their new country. Carrie shared with me the joyous reactions of her clients who just received their green cards.

But it is not only refugees that JSS helps to obtain green cards. Maya Garbuz, case manager, also sees clients who need immigration legal assistance. A few months ago, a young man lost his green card, and without it, he could not find any employer willing to hire him. Maya supported this young man in his applying for a replacement card on his own. He recently received it and is already interviewing for jobs.

Another young man who came to JSS as a social services client just received his social security card. He came to the United States as a child with his mother, who married an American citizen. The man was very abusive, and the woman and her son had to leave. They had no status, as the husband/stepfather never applied for social security or a green card. The son came to see Maya, who provided social services and support while he obtained legal help to apply for legal status through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). His VAWA petition was approved. He can now get a job, which he could not do without legal status.

These stories shine a bright light during a dark time for immigration in our country. Since late March, refugee resettlement, naturalization ceremonies (to complete the process of becoming a citizen), and issuance of green cards to those outside the United States (with some exceptions) have been halted. The United States has closed the southern and northern borders to nonessential travel, and more than 20,000 migrants have been immediately sent back to Mexico or their home countries. Only two migrants have been allowed to remain in the United States to pursue asylum, and the administration is moving to extend its coronavirus border restrictions indefinitely despite the push to reopen business inside the country.

The Jewish story is one of immigration, and protecting the vulnerable is at the heart of our tradition. JSS, which has a long history of serving and advocating for immigrants, will continue to do so, and we invite you to join us in this commitment.

It’s Not Too Soon to Request an Absentee Ballot for the Fall Elections 

It’s fair to say that the April election did not go as smoothly as the people of Wisconsin might have hoped. Last-minute court challenges led to confusion, voters in some locations stood in line for hours, and social distancing was often difficult. Municipal clerks were hard-hit by a flood of last-minute absentee ballot requests, and voters who didn’t get their ballots on time either went to the polls despite the Safer at Home order or gave up their right to vote.

If you would like to vote by mail in the fall elections, now is the time to request your absentee ballot. All Wisconsin voters are able to request an absentee ballot without providing a reason—you don’t actually have to be absent. While the Wisconsin Elections Commission decided on May 27 to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters, the April experience suggests that more challenges may lie ahead.

If you are already registered to vote, the easiest way to request a ballot is online at MyVote.wi.gov. You will be required to upload a copy of your voter photo ID if one is not already on file with your municipal clerk. You can also request an absentee ballot by contacting your municipal clerk by mail or email. City of Madison residents may request an absentee ballot form; any other municipality should use this form.

Social Action Shabbat Will Focus on Voting Rights

On August 28, the Social Action Committee will welcome Ryeshia Farmer, coordinator of the “Rights for All” campaign of the ACLU of Wisconsin. Ms. Farmer will talk about the multitude of issues swirling around voting rights, including mail-in ballots, keeping polling places open, voter ID, felon disenfranchisement, disability access, voter roll purges, and more. The TBE Civic Engagement Action Team will offer concrete actions we can take to protect and expand the right to vote for every American.

Through our focus on voting rights, we are participating in a national campaign with synagogues across the country. “Every Voice, Every Vote” is the Reform Jewish movement’s 2020 civic engagement campaign, a nonpartisan effort to strengthen our democracy by encouraging everyone to participate in the U.S. election and ensuring that Reform Jewish values are represented in the public square. You can read more about it here.

Throughout the summer and fall, the TBE Civic Engagement Action Team will be working on these issues. Join us on August 28 as we learn what we can do to make voting available for all citizens.

“My Faith, My Vote, My Story”: Leaders Speak Out on Why Voting Matters

The Wisconsin Interfaith Voter Engagement Campaign has launched a new series of short videos called “My Faith, My Vote, My Story” as a way to promote civic engagement while social distancing. In these videos, community leaders talk about times when they encountered barriers to registering or voting, how their faith tradition inspired them to vote, or why their faith tradition leads them to work so that everyone has the right to vote and have a voice. You can find the first round of videos on the InterfaithVoteWI website. If you have a story to share, you'll find instructions for how to do that here.

The campaign also recently hosted a webinar called “Forward in Faith and Power: Why Your Vote Matters,” featuring office holders and faith leaders talking about the importance of voting, particularly in local elections. Many eligible voters are apathetic and hopeless, feeling that their votes don’t count. Others may vote in presidential elections but don’t think that local elections are important. In the webinar, people talk about faith as an inspiration for taking voting seriously and the impact of voting on day-to-day life. You can watch this webinar online or share it with someone you know who isn’t sure why they should bother to vote. 

If you’d like to get involved in nonpartisan voter outreach, you can sign up for the TBE Civic Engagement Action Team (contact Marcia Vandercook)and/or the Wisconsin Interfaith Civic Engagement Project (contact Rabbi Bonnie Margulis).

Presentation to Highlight the Impact of COVID-19 on Immigrants Held in Detention

On Monday, June 22, 7:00–8:30 pm, the Immigrant Rights Action Team is hosting a Zoom presentation by Aissa Olivarez, the managing attorney at the Community Immigration Law Center (CILC). She will talk about the impact of COVID-19 on undocumented immigrants in detention and the need to release these detainees for health reasons. Conditions in the detention centers have become even more dire with the spread of COVID-19, since the centers have no capacity for social distancing or adequate protection and medical care.

Ms. Olivarez will also summarize virtual trainings recently attended by CILC's attorneys to enhance legal representation of immigrants facing deportation using funds obtained by the TBE Immigrant Rights Action Team. These funds were provided by the Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice at the URJ Religious Action Center in the form of a $1,500 grant.

At the end of the program, listeners will be asked to send a letter urging our legislators to press for the release of immigrant detainees, consistent with the RAC's current advocacy priorities. This program is open to all interested TBE congregants and to other Dane Sanctuary Coalition member congregations.

Sign up for this program here.

LGBTQ Pride Resources

Books

Queer Jewish Narratives (LGBTQIA+ Reads)
A comprehensive list of over 50 fiction and non-fiction books for adults, young adults and children. Includes extensive descriptions.

Confronting History: A Memoir  
George L. Mosse, University of Wisconsin Press, 2000
Recommended by Paul Grossberg
George Mosse was the John C. Bascom Professor of European History and the Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also the Koebner Professor of History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was selected to be the first scholar-in-residence at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
George Mosse finished writing his memoir just two weeks before he died in January 1999. Confronting History describes Mosse’s opulent childhood in Weimar, Berlin as the son of a prominent newspaper publisher, his exile in Paris and England, his second exile in the Unites States at Haverford, Harvard, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and extended stays in London and Jerusalem. Mosse also discusses being a Jew and his attachment to Israel and Zionism, his gayness, his coming out, and his growing scholarly interest in issues of sexuality.

We’ve Been Here All Along: Wisconsin’s Early Gay History (2019)
R. Richard Wagner, Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Comments from Paul Grossberg:
"This outstanding book, We’ve Been Here All Along: Wisconsin’s Early Gay History, takes readers on a fascinating journey through decades of engaging stories, societal and political insight, and carefully referenced details. My husband and I have known Dick Wagner for about 40 years. He is a friend, a clear-thinking community leader, a soft-spoken and brilliant historian, and a mensch. Our entire community has been given a meaningful gift with these unearthed stories and threads of progress woven together in such a beautiful way. We can’t wait for the next volume."
If any Temple Beth El members would like a personally autographed copy please email Paul Grossberg who will help arrange that.
We’ve Been Here All Along: Wisconsin’s Early Gay History received a Gold Book Award in the national 2020 Independent Publishers Book Awards contest and received a Book Award of Merit from the Board of Curators of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Wisconsin Public Television will be re-broadcasting Dick Wagner’s UW Sociology Department lecture about Wisconsin’s Early Gay History at noon Wednesdays during Pride Month, June 2020.

Coming Out, Moving Forward (Available September 2020) 
R. Richard Wagner, Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Forewords by Tammy Baldwin and Steve Gunderson
Here’s what Tony Earl (Wisconsin Governor from 1983-1987) said about Coming Out, Moving Forward: “Thank goodness for R. Richard Wagner’s careful documentation and historic recounting of the push for LGBT rights in Wisconsin. Otherwise, it would be difficult to comprehend, by today’s standards, the depth and breadth of the prejudice. Wisconsin was on the forefront, albeit with fits and starts, of the fight for equal rights, thanks to the tenacity and hard work of people like Wagner. I am proud to have been a chapter in this movement.”
If any Temple Beth El members would like a personally autographed copy please email Paul Grossberg who will help arrange that.

Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer
edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer
Recommended by Cantor Jacob Niemi
This is an incredibly important contribution to the canon of queer Jewish theology and textual interpretation, in some ways the first book of its kind. Building upon the great strides made by Jewish feminist thinkers, LGBTQ Jews have taken up the mantle of reading themselves and their experiences back into texts that have historically excluded their voices. Just as feminist Jewish theology has provided new and deeply meaningful ways for Jews of every gender to read sacred text, so too does the lens of queer theory and theology provide a wellspring of insight that can benefit people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
For more on this topic, join Cantor Jacob Niemi on Sunday, June 28, 2020, 10:30–11:30 am, as he leads a session introducing concepts of queer text study.

A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969, edited by Noam Sienna
edited by Noam Sienna
Recommended by Cantor Jacob Niemi
Much in the same way that Torah Queeriesis a momentous book in its elevation of contemporary queer Jewish readers of sacred text, A Rainbow Thread is equally significant in its collection of voices from and about queer Jewish experiences of the past. While labels may change to suit the needs of a generation, Noam Sienna’s book teaches us (among many other things) that much of the human experience has remained the same. We have all wrestled with identity, searched for meaning, and sought ways to celebrate our full, authentic selves.

Wrestling with Gods and Men: Homosexuality in Jewish Tradition, by Rabbi Steven Greenberg
by Rabbi Steven Greenberg,University of Wisconsin Press, 2004
Recommended by Cantor Jacob Niemi
Written by the first Orthodox rabbi to come out as gay, and then maintain his identity as an orthodox rabbi, Steven Greenberg’s landmark book delves into topics that have tortured gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer people of faith for generations. Specifically, Rabbi Greenberg explores the biblical prohibitions against certain sexual acts that have been used to marginalize and persecute LGBTQ people. Using his Orthodox perspective, he proposes a halakhic framework by with LGBTQ Jews can be fully accepted within even the most religiously strict of communities. His work has opened the door to a new way of thinking for a generation of queer Jews who refuse to separate their faith their acceptance of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Other books on Cantor Niemi’s Jewish LGBTQ+ reading short list
History and Memoirs

Miscellaneous Non-Fiction

  • Adrienne Rich’s Poetry and Prose, by Adrienne Rich
  • Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology, edited by Evelyn Torton Beck

Reference

  • Mishkan Ga’avah: Where Pride Dwells: A Celebration of LGBTQ Jewish Life and Ritual, edited by Rabbi Denise L. Eger. In honor of Pride month, CCAR Press is offering 20% off Mishkan Ga'avah: Where Pride Dwells a collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy, and rituals with discount code PRIDE20 at checkout through June 15, 2020.
  • Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories, by Andrew Ramer

Theology

  • The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, by Joy Ladin
  • God vs. Gay: The Religious Case for Equality, by Jay Michaelson
  • Textual Activism, by Rabbi Mike Moskowitz
  • Listening for the Oboe, by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Children’s

  • The Purim Superhero, by Elisabeth Kushner, illustrated by Mike Byrne
  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno

Young Adult

  • Magical Princess Harriet, by Rabbi Leiah Lin Moser

Events

Milwaukee Pride

Outreach Magic Festival Madison

Transgender and Non-Binary Jews Are Here: A National Convening
Cantor Niemi: "In the spring of 2019, Keshet and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah hosted the first ever convening of transgender and nonbinary Jews. Hundreds of trans and nonbinary Jews from all across America converged upon New York for a weekend of learning, networking, resource sharing, and community building. I was only able to witness a few pieces of this unprecedented event (as they opened worship to the host-congregation), and I was profoundly moved and inspired by the power of this awakened collective. Only time will tell the magnitude of what these newly forged connections may provide to the Jewish world. (Side note: It was through this convening that I was exposed to the work of Abby Stein, Rabbi Leiah Lin Moser, and Rabbah Rona Matlow, among others)"

For Allies

Seven Jewish Values for Inclusive Community
How traditional Jewish values serve as guidelines for creating an inclusive community

Supporting Your LGBTQ Child
Learn how to show true love and support for the LGBTQ young person in your life

What’s in a Pronoun?: Resources and Activities on Third-Person, Gender- Neutral Pronouns
A guide to pronouns and gender-neutral pronouns, with an emphasis on addressing questions about using “they” as a singular pronoun.

Historically LGBTQ Synagogues

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City

Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles

Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco

From Cantor Niemi: "While all of these historically LGBTQ synagogues now welcome straight and cisgender members, the role that they have played and continue to play for LGBTQ Jews searching for meaning and community cannot be emphasized enough. During my cantorial studies, I personally found this to be the case, as I explored the synthesis of my own queer and Jewish identities, and how that synthesis could inform my sacred work. In particular, I found the opportunity to engage with an inter-generational queer Jewish community to be profoundly meaningful, as I gained access to shared history to which I had never been exposed."

Jewish Ritual

Queer/Chosen Family Blessing for the Children
Judaism has a beautiful tradition of blessing the children on Friday night before making kiddush. The traditional blessing is gendered with a version for daughters and one for sons, as they are blessed to be like the matriarchs or Ephraim and Manasseh. But not all families fit this model; not all children fit the gender binary, and not all families consist of parents and children.

TransTorah
From Cantor Niemi: "While the website design might seem a little outdated, TransTorah is a vital and currently irreplaceable resource for those who which to learn more about ritual and theology developed by and for transgender Jews. From sermons and essays to prayers for transitioning and chest-binding, and even some medieval poetry, this website is an invaluable resource for transgender Jews and their allies. In addition to the amazing ritual innovation, I found it profoundly meaningful to read sermons, essays, and poetry by the first generation of openly transgender rabbis."

Queer Nigun Project
From Cantor Niemi:“Only in New York…” Well, it’s true that sometimes you need a critical mass of Jews in a confined geographical area for this kind of innovation. In any case, the beautifully simple power of this gathering (now virtual) is hard to overstate. It is a group of LGBTQ Jews in New York (mostly Brooklyn) who gather and sing nigunim (wordless melodies)…and that’s it (though I guess they sometimes bring snacks). The healing and resilience and meaning that this space provides for LGBTQ Jews, many of whom have been estranged from religiously orthodox and/or politically conservative families and communities, is remarkably powerful. I was fortunate to go to a few of their gatherings (and even host once) before I left New York, and I still draw upon their treasure trove of online recordings whenever I am seeking a new nigun."

A group of queer Jews, based primarily in Brooklyn, that gathers on a regular basis to simply sing nigunim together. It’s run by the daughter of a chabadnik, a young woman who learned a trove of nigunim from her father. Participants are encouraged to share nigunim they know, and some sessions have even led to the sharing and composition of new nigunim. The gatherings initially provided a space for many queer Jews who had felt estranged from their Judaism or their Jewish community, particularly those who came from an Orthodox background, but they quickly expanded and became part of the rapidly growing, inter/trans-denominational, LGBTQ-affirming, Jewish scene in Brooklyn (and, to a certain degree, Washington Heights).

Non-Binary Hebrew Project
From Cantor Niemi: "Quite apart from the meaningful resource this has become for non-binary Jews and Hebrew speakers, the Hebrew grammar enthusiast in me is remarkably impressed and fascinated by the comprehensive approach of this project. Anyone who studies Hebrew knows that it is one of THE most gendered languages, where even 2ndperson pronouns and present tense verbs must be gender-specific. To my knowledge, this is the first attempt to take a wholistic and systematic approach to creating a gender-neutral option in Hebrew. While it has its flaws, it also has incredible potential, and it is already inspiring many non-binary Jews (including some future clergy, one of whom I am fortunate to call a friend)."

Queer Midrashim by Rabbah Rona Matlow

Ritualwell
A TON of resources for ritual (mostly not LGBTQ-specific, but they have a respectable quantity that is). Here's a guide for their LGBTQ-specific resources that was published in 2013.

LGBTQ History

How the Nazi Regimes Pink Triangle was Repurposed for LGBT Pride
Contains LGBTQ history in Europe before and during the war and why the pink triangle has been adopted as a positive symbol.

Looking at the Gay Rights Movement Through Art
Fabulous! Provides history of pride flag. Shows art of several artists' with descriptions.

History of Madison Pride

Wisconsin LGBT History Project
Chronicling the history of the LGBTQ community in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

LGBTQ People and Identities

6 Influential Jews Who Show their LGBT Pride
One paragraph about each person and links for more information on each one.

Dag Gadol
A blog/website by the Rabbi Leiah Lin Moser (who happens to be trans, a very cool human being, and one of the authors on my book list – Cantor Niemi). The website contains many of her drashot and essays, as well as ways to purchase her books.

Honoring LGBT Jewish Holocaust Survivors
A list of blog biographies and additional resources on 11 inspirational LGBTQ Jewish Holocaust survivors compiled by the New York Public Library

How I Learned to Love my Big Gay Jewish Hair –“ the way I wear my hair is layered with cultural meaning and intention”
A short film about how one person presents both his Jewish and gay identities through his hair and struggles with these identities. Here’s an interview with the star and producer of the film a while after it was made.

I Am Always All Parts of My Identity—and I Hope You Are, Too BY EVERLYN A. HUNTER

Jewish Pioneers in LGBT Rights, LGBT Achievements in Judaism and Others
A compilation of achievements, brief biographies and additional resources of amazing accomplishments

Keshet’s “Joy and Resilience” series
Cantor Niemi: "An innovation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Keshet’s online video series invites LGBTQ Jewish leaders to engage in interview in which they discuss sustains them when facing adversity and crisis. Quoting the host/interviewer, Dubbs Weinblatt, 'As LGBTQ Jewish people, oftentimes, we need to create our own ways of persevering through tough moments. Surviving and thriving in this world has pushed our own store of unique wisdom about resilience, joy, and community.' In listening to these interviews, I was moved not only by how the perspectives shared might resonate with LGBTQ Jews, but also by the powerful messages that these leaders have to share with the Jewish community at large."

Michael W. Twitty
A proud black, Jewish and gay man who fuses his identities together in his own special unique blend of kosher soul, culinary influencer, historian, Judaic studies teacher and so much more.

Resources from Abby Stein
Cantor Niemi: "A former ultra-orthodox rabbi who came out as trans, left the Orthodox world, and found her way back to Jewish community. I was fortunate to hear her speak at a number of events, including Trans Jews Are Here: A National Convening that took place a little over a year ago. Her personal story is powerful, and her knowledge of text is impressively broad and deep. In addition to her blog and her Sefaria source sheets, both of which are great resources, she also has a new book that came out last November, in which she tells the story of her journey thus far."

Yitz Jordan (Y-Love)
Hip-hop artist, educator and activist who is Jewish, Black and Gay

Organizations

GSAFE
Increases the capacity of LGBTQ+ students, educators, and families to create schools in Wisconsin where all youth thrive.

HUC-JIR’s Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation
The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) is the first and only institute of its kind in the Jewish world. The Institute was founded in 2000 to educate HUC-JIR students on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues to help them challenge and eliminate homophobia and heterosexism; and to learn tools to be able to transform the communities they encounter into ones that are inclusive and welcoming of LGBT Jews.
Over time, this mission of education and the creation of welcoming spaces has expanded to the larger community outside the walls of our four campuses in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, New York and Jerusalem. The Institute offers consultation to individual professionals, synagogues and organizations as well as seminars and workshops at HUC-JIR and at local, national and international conferences.

Keshet
Keshet works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and our families in Jewish life.

OutReach LGBT Community Center
Mission is a commitment to equity and quality of life for all LGBTQ+ people through community building, health and human services, and economic, social, and racial justice advocacy. Coordinators of the Madison Pride MAGIC Festival

PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
National
 & Local chapter
PFLAG promotes the health and well being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons, their families and friends through:

  • Support, to cope with an adverse society
  • Education, to enlighten an ill-informed public
  • Advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights

Reform Movement and the Religious Action Center
Since 1965 the Reform Movement has been an advocate of the LGBTQ community and continues their advocacy and celebrating successes today. Visit their website for how you can get involved in advocacy as well as other inclusive resources. They also have a history of the intersection of the Reform Movement and the LGBTQ Movement.

Svara: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva
A queer yeshiva dedicated to the serious study of Talmud through the lens of queer experiences. Check out videos and other resources for learning and more on their website. They also host a Queer Talmud Camp that’s on Cantor Niemi’s bucket list.

Youth

Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students
Best colleges for LGBTQ students and other resources for the college search and campus life. (uses information from Campus Pride)

Campus Pride
Building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities.

Jewish Queer Youth
Jewish Queer Youth (JQY) is a nonprofit organization supporting and empowering LGBTQ youth in the Jewish community. JQY fights to ensure the emotional and physical health and safety of these individuals, with a special focus on teens and young adults from Orthodox, Chasidic, and Sephardic communities. They have resources for parents as well as youth and so much more.

LGBTQIA + Resources for Children: A Bibliography
A far-reaching list of fiction, nonfiction, magazines, reference books, videos and websites. Compiled by the San Francisco Public Library and the Philadelphia Free Library

On the Killing of George Floyd

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

(NOTE: Since I wrote this post, some readers have inferred that a reference below blamed those protesting in memory of George Floyd and in favor of Black Lives Matter for the property damage and looting that stemmed from the demonstrations here, and possibly be extension around the nation. I do not believe this; this is not the case, and I regret that I was not more precise. I have, therefore, edited my original posting – written one day after the Madison demonstrations – to bring clarity to my words. I apologize for causing readers to misinterpret my intention.)

Judaism and Jewish textual tradition assert that all people on earth are equal, irrespective of any apparent or inherent differences. The Midrash explains that common descent from Adam and Eve means that no one’s ancestors are greater than any other: each person is precious in the eyes of God, and each person deserves the same dignity as anyone.

This is why the systemic racism in our nation is so disturbing. For yet again, our nation is reeling from the aftereffects of another death of a young African American at the hands of police. The deeply troubling, almost nine-minute recording depicting the killing of George Floyd should move each of us to reach out to our neighbors, friends, and relatives, and implore them to struggle against the systemic racism of our society.

As the mayor (Jewish, by the way) of Minneapolis said, “What we've seen over the last two days ... is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness, anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years [of systemic racism] … If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable, it’s right.”

This past Friday morning, my wife Rabbi Bonnie Margulis and I sent this letter to the leaders of the Madison African American community. We have shared many moments of brotherhood in the last few years:

“Our words fail us, but our outrage and horror haunt us again when, at this terrible time, yet another African American has been killed at the hands of the police.  We cannot imagine the pain and anger, frustration and outrage you must be feeling.  The murder of George Floyd is abhorrent, as is the lack of accountability on the part of the police department and the city government. There is no adequate consolation that we can offer for the violence, the death, the manifestation of systemic racism blatantly at work here. Yet, we stand with you and pledge to act with you in protesting these outrageous acts of inhumanity. We are taught to love our fellow as we love ourselves, and we are completely distraught that many Americans have failed to learn this lesson…”

And like many cities in our nation, rioting has broken out in our downtown/State Street area, including property damage, looting, graffiti painting, and attacks against Madison’s Police Department and other law enforcement officers.

It has become evident that those who instigated this violence were not the peaceful protestors of Saturday afternoon. The identity of these perpetrators is not clear, but I suspect they were agitators from the extremes sides of the political spectrum: from the right, white supremacists who want to attach the stain of violence to the legitimate protestors, thereby hurting their justifiable protests; and from the left, anarchists and antifascists who feel that disruption of the social order is an effective and acceptable method of changing society.

Whoever they were, none of them seemed to have any connection to those calling for changes in the policing system and justice for all those young African Americans who have needlessly suffered or who have been killed at the hands of police.

As our mayor and other city officials said this past Saturday evening, the property damage and senseless rioting does nothing to help the cause of social justice or criminal justice reform. There is no reason to hurt others physically or psychologically because of our anger to the social issues that plague us.

We can’t predict the end result of the current wave of violent confrontations, but please remain current in knowing what’s going on, protect your friends and family, act sensibly, and continue to think of constructive ways to end the systemic racism that plagues our society.

Quarantine Kitchen - Smoked Salmon

Herb Jahr

How to video: https://youtu.be/fCFv6M-HQAI

Ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • White Wine
  • 2 lbs salmon filets
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Franks hot sauce or tabasco sauce
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Wood chips
  • Smoker

Instructions:

Take the salmon and rinse it off under water. It is best to have salmon with skin on it, but is not necessary.

Mix equal parts of sugar and salt with 2 cups of warm water and 2 cups of white wine – 4 cups of liquid total is necessary. Mix little bit of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Franks Hot Sauce or Tabasco sauce. Approximately ¼ of a cup of this liquid is enough. Add onion and garlic powders to taste.

In a 13 by 9 inch pan, pour a little of the brine in the bottom of the pan. Next place the salmon to be smoked in the pan and pour the balance of the brine over the salmon. Add enough liquid until the fish begins to float, adding water if necessary. Brine the salmon for 6 hours overnight, in the refrigerator, covered.

After it’s brined for 6-8 hours, place the salmon on a rack to drain. Cut the salmon for easier handling. Place salmon directly on a rack sprayed with non-stick oil. Cut the salmon into large pieces that are easier to handle than the whole fish. Place the racks with the pieces of salmon in front of a fan to dry. The goal is to develop a shiny, dry skin.This is called a pellicle. The pellicle seals and creates a sticky surface on the fish for the smoke to adhere to, this should take about 4 hours. Drying the fish is vital.

Time to smoke the fish. Follow your smoker instructions, add water to the water trey, and using wood chips, smoke the salmon for 6 hours. Start at 100 degrees for 2 hours, then 145 degrees for 2 hours and finally 175 degrees for the final 2 hours. You may opt to add more wood chips before the last 2 hours.

Staying Safe in Changing Times

Celebrate Pride with Temple Beth El in June!

June is the national LGBTQ Pride Month, so we are showing our Pride too!

Temple Beth El has enjoyed a festive Pride Shabbat Service and Rainbow Reception each summer for a few years now and participated in citywide festivities. This summer we can’t hold our Pride festivities in our building, but our digital world will be filled with Pride all month long.

This June, we invite the LGBTQ community and allies to join us for a whole rainbow of Pride happenings exploring the intersection of Judaism and LGBTQ identities.
 

Bo’u Nashir! (Come, Let Us Sing!)—Pride Edition

Tuesdays in June, 3:00 pm (Facebook Live)

The soul-fulfilling song sessions you have come to love return with special Pride connections all month long. Cantor Jacob Niemi will be singing pieces by LGBTQ composers or with Pride themes. How many songs about rainbows does he know? Tune in via Facebook Live to find out!
 


Quarantine Kitchen—Pride Edition

  • Thursday, June 11, 12:00 pm—Rainbow Challah with Jen Szlasa
  • Thursday, June 18, 12:00 pm—Pride Cupcakes with Theo Jacobsohn
  • Thursday, June 25, 12:00 pm—Rainbow Cheesecake Swirl Bars with Eliana Goff

Take a quarantine lunch break and join us for these virtual cooking classes via Facebook Live. Visit https://www.tbemadison.org/event/quarantinekitchen for recipes.
 


Queer Jewish Memory: Documenting Ourselves as Jews, Queer Jews, and Allies

Thursday, June 11, 7:00 pm (register for the Zoom link)

We hope you’ll join us for a special evening with Rena Yehuda Newman! In this interactive talk, they will guide us through a conversation, asking what it means for us to document ourselves in historical times and view our own lives as historical subjects. How do we document ourselves as Jews, queer Jews, and allies? How do we see ourselves through the past? What does it mean to imagine queer Jewish futures? Rena Yehuda’s art can be found in the TBE Haggadah Project, and they have taught at Midrasha, along with many other accomplishments.

This pre-Shabbat meditation on memory-making through the lenses of history, archives, comics, art, and storytelling is ideal for adults and teens, LGBTQ+ community members and allies.
 


Pride Shabbat Service

Friday, June 12, 6:00 pm (Facebook Live)

Celebrate Pride and welcome Shabbat through this special service honoring the Jewish LGBTQ+ community and allies. This service will include pieces written by some of our LGBTQ teens just for the occasion. Join us on Facebook Live for this community celebration of love, faith, equality, and respect.

 

Pride Friendship Bracelets Live

Monday, June 22, 12:00 pm (Facebook Live)

Missing some of those camp activities? Looking to feel connected with friends and family? Join Jen Szlasa on Facebook Live for this demo of special friendship bracelet patterns with a Pride theme. We look forward to seeing your creations!

 

Reading through a Bent Lens:
How Queer Approaches to Text Can Illuminate and Elevate the Study of Torah

Sunday, June 28, 10:30 am (register for the Zoom link)

Join Cantor Jacob Niemi for a special introduction to reading and interpreting the Torah from LGBTQ+ perspectives, and learn how these readings can elevate the study of Torah for all. We hope this will be a stepping-stone to future text study sessions looking at a variety of topics through this lens.

 

Facebook

We’ll be sharing fun Pride-themed items on our Facebook page all month long.

 

TBE Blog

Check the Temple blog in June—we’ll be sharing lots of wonderful resources here throughout Pride month.

To view events on Facebook Live, go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/templebethelmadison/live (you do not need to have a Facebook account).

While we won’t be decorating our building in all things rainbow this year, we’ll still have you seeing rainbows with this array of activities. We hope you’ll join us!

Contact Aleeza A. Hoffert at engage@tbemadison.org with any questions. Thank you to the Pride committee for their work to make our Pride month happenings a reality.

Quarantine Kitchen: Pride Edition - Pride Flag Cupcakes

Theo Jacobsohn

Step 1: Make cupcake batter

You can use your favorite cupcake recipe or just follow the instructions on the back of a white cake mix. If you want to do something between the two, here’s our favorite recipe:

Cupcake ingredients:

  • 18 paper liners
  • 1 package white cake mix***
  • ***Either regular or gluten-free cake mix works! You can also use yellow cake mix, but white makes more vibrant color cupcakes.
  • ¼ cup vanilla instant pudding mix
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Gel food coloring (rainbow, or the pride flag colors of your choice)

Instructions:

  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 18 cupcake cups with paper liners or grease the tins really well. Set the pans aside
  • Place cake mix, pudding mix, sugar, sour cream, oil, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 to 1 ½ minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed.

Step 2: Color, assemble, and bake

Tips:

  • Choose your favorite pride flag colors (e.g. rainbow, trans, pansexual)
  • Gel food coloring is better to color batter, while liquid would be used when coloring liquids

Instructions:

  • Separate batter into bowls, one for each color of batter
  • One color of food coloring to each bowl until you get your desired colors
  • Assuming you are making rainbow cupcakes (otherwise follow the same instructions, divided by the number of colors and pattern of your design):
  • With a small spoon, spoon just under a tablespoon of each color batter into each cup.
  • Start with purple, then blue, then green, then yellow, then orange and finally red.
  • Note: The colors won’t cover each other completely when you assemble them, but they will spread out while baking and look awesome!
  • Bake for 18-21 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake them, or they will get too brown! (not a rainbow color)

Step 3: Make frosting

You can use whatever frosting recipe you want (or store-bought… we won’t tell, promise!). If you want to color the frosting or add a lot of colorful decorations on top, choose a white buttercream base. Here is an easy buttercream recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions:

  • Whip the butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until you see the butter is lighter in color (about 1 minute)
  • Add in the vanilla.
  • Add in the powdered sugar in 1 cup increments, alternating with the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, but ending with powdered sugar.
  • Mix on high for 1 minute after each addition. Your frosting should be super light and fluffy, just like a delicious vanilla cloud.

Step 4: Decorate

There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this… so have fun with it! Experiment! But whatever you do, take PRIDE in your work!

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before decorating. (Don’t believe me? Just watch a few episodes of Nailed It. You’ll see what happens.)

Things you might want to use:

  • Piping bags and tips
  • Frosting spreader
  • Food coloring (an assortment of rainbow colors or colors representing a pride flag) gel or liquid
  • Colorful candy
  • Colored sugar (or edible glitter if you want to get fancy)
  • Sprinkles

Not sure what to do? Pinterest and Google are your friends. Look for pictures of examples and videos for decorating techniques.

Here are some examples:

(super simple) https://www.dessertnowdinnerlater.com/rainbow-cupcakes/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/271201208798940750/

https://www.chicaandjo.com/colorful-swirled-cupcakes/

https://www.mommysfabulousfinds.com/rainbow-cupcakes/

(more adventurous) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbxxisn5Cwo

Quarantine Kitchen: Shavuot Edition - Blintz Soufflé

Susan Golden

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkg. Blintzes (I use the Golden brand in the freezer section)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1½ c sour cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. orange juice (optional)

Preparation:

1. Melt butter in 2 quart pyrex and place blintzes over butter in one layer.
2. Blend other ingredients with eggs and pour over blintzes.
3. Bake in 350° oven 45 minutes or until top starts to brown.

Rainbow Challah - Quarantine Kitchen: Pride Edition

Jen Szlasa

Adapted from: https://smittenkitchen.com/2008/09/best-challah-egg-bread/

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 packages, 3/8 ounces or 11 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) table salt
  • 8 cups (1000 to 1063 grams) bread flour (can substitute all purpose)
  • Food coloring, preferably gel: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet (you could just mix primaries, but it’s tough to see the color as you go)

Recommended Kitchen Tools:

  • Medium or large mixing bowl
  • Wisk
  • Measuring utensils
  • 6 mixing bowls—small mixing bowls or potentially large soup/cereal bowls will work
  • Kitchen scale (optional)

Dough Prep:

In a medium or large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in water; set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.

Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and salt.

At this point, to try to split the wet ingredients as evenly as possible—make sure to mix thoroughly! It’d most precise to use a scale, but you can approximate based the volume of the ingredients.

Find the total mass or volume of the ingredients and divide by 6 – that’s the goal for each small bowl

Split the wet ingredients into the 6 bowls based on your calculation from step a). If using volume, I’d recommend transferring a portion at a time to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed (i.e. transfer ¼ cup to each bowl, then start back at the first bowl and transfer ¼ cup to each bowl, then split whatever is left 1 tbsp at a time)

Add food coloring to each bowl. I tried to calculate drops, but they aren’t particularly scientific and seemed to vary dramatically based on color. Just aim for something very vibrant now since the color will lighten up significantly in the flour

Gradually add about a cup of flour to your first color (I like to start with red and work my way through to violet). I normally add about ¼ cup flour at a time for these small batches. You may need up to another 1/3 cup of flour per bowl, but it will vary based on the temperature and humidity. When dough holds together and isn’t too sticky, it’s ready for kneading. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Repeat with each color.

Clean out bowls and grease them, then return dough to bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

***Continue to Challah Separation if desired***

Take half the dough of each color and form into 2 balls; You’ll end up with 12 total. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 inch wide. Place one of each color in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands (to the middle). Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2 (to the middle). Start over with the second strand from the right. Continue this until all strands are braided, and tuck ends underneath. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between. Avoid dark nonstick pans if possible as these can cause the bottom to cook much faster than the top. Parchment or silicone baking liners are great for helping the bread bake evenly and preventing the bread from sticking to the pan.

Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze loaves or let rise another hour.

If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves with egg wash again. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.

Note: Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving on to the next step.

Lukshen Kugel (a very dairy noodle “pudding”) - Quarantine Kitchen: Shavuot Edition

Gwen Jacobsohn

Kugel Ingredients

  • 20-24 oz. wide egg noodles (or rotini noodles)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 12 oz. cottage cheese***
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins (optional) – or other dried fruits like cranberries or chopped apricots
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray

Topping Ingredients (optional):

  • 1/2c cornflake cereal (slightly crushed)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 13” baking dish. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente (according to package instructions). Drain.

In a large bowl mix together eggs, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and raisins (if using). Then stir in noodles. Pour into prepared dish (aka, buttered or sprayed with cooking oil). If you aren’t using a topping, sprinkle with a little additional cinnamon and sugar.

Topping (optional): Mix together cornflakes, cinnamon, and sugar. Sprinkle of top of “pudding” and dot with butter

Bake until set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cover with aluminum foil if the top starts to get too dark.

***Traditional recipes call for “pot cheese”, which is like a drier version of large-curd cottage cheese (https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-pot-cheese-591193). If you would like a slightly-sweeter cheese option, you can use ricotta instead.

Wine-Braised Brisket - Quarantine Kitchen

Gwen Jacobsohn

Makes 8 servings

This recipe takes time, but it is really worth it. The first day the meat marinates in a mixture of red wine, vegetables, and herbs, then the next day it slowly simmers until fork-tender. The rich hearty flavor actually improves when refrigerated overnight, so plan ahead! This keeps well in the fridge as long as it sits in the cooking liquid, and also freezes well (in case you want to double or triple the recipe.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ tsp dried
  • 1 2lb. beef brisket, trimmed of all visible fat
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tb. Vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tb. Cornstarch
  • 1 Tb. Cold water

Stage 1 (marinate, usually the night before): Combine the wine, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, peppercorn, and thyme with the brisket in a large zip-close plastic bag; turn to coat the brisket. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Stage 2 (prep and sear): Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the brisket from the marinade; set the marinade aside. Pat the brisket dry. Season with the salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat (on the stove top). Swirl in the oil, then add the brisket. Sear until well-browned on all sides, about 4 minutes each side.

Stage 3 (sauce and bake): Transfer the brisket to a plate. Discard any far from the pot. Add the tomato paste and cook over low-medium heat until it darkens to a rust color, 3-4 minutes. Add the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven; add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to the over, and bake until the brisket is very tender when pierce with a fork, 3 ½ to 4 hours.

Stage 4 (it’s all gravy): Transfer the brisket to a cutting board; cover loosely with foil and keep warm. Skim off any excess fat from the cooking liquid with a spoon. Process the liquid in a food processor or blender, in batches, until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot and bring to simmer. Combine the cornstartch and water in a cup; drizzle into the source. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes. Slice the brisket and serve with the sauce.

[slighted adapted from the cookbook “Weight Watchers Entertains, with the chefs from the Culinary institute of America” ©2002]

Learn More about the Issues

Do you want to take a deeper dive into the social justice issues shaping our society? Try one of these informative programs.

Dane Sanctuary Coalition’s “Big Read”: The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez
What happens when an undocumented teen mother takes on the U.S. immigration system?
In The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story, author Aaron Bobrow-Strain takes us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters. This emotional narrative reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. The author was scheduled to speak in Madison on Thursday, May 14, this is currently being rescheduled. You can check Facebook for event updates.

The TBE Immigrant Rights Action Team co-chairs will be facilitating an online discussion group on Tuesday, April 28, 7:00–8:30 pm. Please register for it on the TBE website if you’re interested in participating. We're looking forward to a lively discussion of this fascinating narrative! A study guide is available from Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice.

URJ Religious Action Center Offers a Three-Part Community Organizing Webinar
The RAC offers a three-part series on Moving Your Community into Action, focused on core community organizing skills and civic engagement work, to equip leaders with important social justice tools. The three one-hour sessions are Building an Effective Social Justice Team, How to Run an Effective Organizing Campaign, and Engaging Key Stakeholders Around Social Justice. You can access this content by contacting Aleeza Hoffert for assistance.

Updates on Our Partner Programs: Financial Support and Volunteering 

We’ve done a survey of our partner programs to see how they are adapting to the pandemic and what kind of support they can use right now. If you are able to, making a monetary donation is one of the most helpful things you can do. There are some limited volunteer opportunities, mostly for people in low-risk health categories.

Hunger Relief

Second Harvest Foodbank
Instead of having customers visit the food bank, Second Harvest has initiated its Care Box Project, packing and delivering boxes of nutritious food to families in need. The Social Action Committee has recently donated the last portion of the High Holy Day Food Drive funds to the Care Box Project. You can make an additional donation here.

Due to health and safety concerns, Second Harvest is only accepting healthy volunteers age 12–64 years during the coronavirus outbreak. Volunteers work in large open space with appropriate social distancing. You can sign up here and find a time that works for you.

Goodman Community Center
Most programs are closed, along with the buildings. Staff and volunteers arehonoring social distancing as they prepare meals for delivery and bags of groceries for people to pick up. You can bring prepackaged nonperishable food donations, reusable bags, and sturdy boxes to the Ironworks Building, 149 Waubesa St. See here for details. Low-risk volunteers welcome.

Catholic Multicultural Center
The Catholic Multicultural Center’s meal program is currently providing grab-and-go meals for guests to take with them from the center’s parking lot. The food pantry is also grab-and-go from the parking lot, with Catholic Multicultural Center staff and volunteers doing the shopping from customer orders. Donations of money, food, and personal essentials are very welcome. See here for current needs, procedures, and online donation.

If you are interested in preparing food at home for delivery to the Catholic Multicultural Center, please contact Sue Levy.

Thoreau Elementary School Weekend Food Bags
Right before school ended, Thoreau staff, parents, and volunteers collected and delivered a week’s worth of groceries to 125 families. Food distribution now continues in partnership with Leopold Elementary, Midvale-Lincoln Elementary, and West High School. The partnership allows Thoreau to share the use of Westminster Church as a relief site; coordinate the use of United Way volunteers for contacting, packaging, and delivery; and serve the families associated with the various schools. Here’s a news article about the program.

To support these families, the best thing you can do is to donate money. So many families are already feeling the financial strain, and it will likely get worse in the coming weeks. The donated funds will address additional food needs above and beyond what Second Harvest can provide and will help families with other needs (toiletries, rent, utilities, gas, etc.). For information on how to donate, contact Alexa at 608-320-6929 or call the school.

Homelessness

Porchlight
Porchlight has opened two new shelters to provide more housing and to separate men who are sick from those who are healthy. The county is catering meals for both shelters, so no meals are currently needed from volunteers. Porchlight will contact volunteer groups when they return to Grace Episcopal Church and we are needed to prepare and serve meals again. You can support Porchlight during this time by donating online or visiting their Facebook page to monitor current needs.

The Road Home
If you are looking for ways to help our community during the COVID-19 crisis, please consider making a donation to support vulnerable families served by The Road Home. The Road Home will use these funds to help families in its housing programs cover expenses such as rent and groceries, as many have lost work during this crisis. If you prefer to donate items, please order them online and have them delivered to The Road Home at 890 W. Wingra Dr., Madison, WI 53715. See the wish list for the most urgent needs.

Healing House
Healing House is operating and has implemented safety protocols. They are working closely with city and county staff and other homeless service providers to keep residents safe. For now, the congregational meal program is continuing in modified form as volunteers drop off uncooked meals to be cooked by staff. Things may change by our next shift at the end of May.

Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM) appreciates your donations for all its programs, including Healing House, prison and re-entry programs, Just Bakery, and Mentoring Connections.They also suggest that you support local restaurants that have supported MUM in the past, including Short Stack Eatery, Cranberry Creek Café, Food Fight Restaurants, and HotelRED.

Immigration

Dane Sanctuary Coalition
Temple Beth El is a member of the Dane Sanctuary Coalition, joining with other congregations and organizations to support immigrants in our community. The coalition works with the Dane County government and Madison Community Foundation to support the Immigrant Assistance Fund. This fund pays for legal services, emergency aid, bail, travel costs, and other aid for undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in Dane County.

Dane Sanctuary Coalition is looking for volunteers with public relations and/or fundraising experience to be part of a small committee to work with the Immigration Collaborative and move this effort forward. For more information, and to volunteer, please contact Rabbi Bonnie Margulis. You can read more about the fund and donate here.

Racial Justice

Nehemiah Center
Many TBE members have attended the “Black History for a New Day” program for white allies, offered through the Nehemiah Center and Fountain of Life Church. Nehemiah is providing emergency services to the South Madison community in the current crisis. These include food baskets for individuals and families (with special emphasis on those with small children, guardians with mobility issues, and seniors); emotional support services over the phone or through video chat mechanisms to reduce isolation; financial support in an effort to help reduce the incidence of increased stressors on the family, including assistance with transportation, medication, and co-pays; and rental assistance. Monetary gifts are the most useful because they can be used where they are most needed. Checks or gift cards can be sent to 655 W. Badger Rd., Madison, WI 53713, or you can donate online.

African American Council of Churches
The African American Council of Churches (AACC) has joined with the Lighthouse Church to create a Psalm 46 Relief Fund for the African American and Latinx communities. Through their services, these churches help a segment of the population of Madison that experiences the greatest food and housing insecurity and is chronically underemployed. Less than 20% of adults in the African American and Hispanic community can work from home; most of them work in service industry businesses like restaurants, hotels, and cleaning services, which have been hit the hardest at this time. A great number of them are losing their jobs and are at risk of losing their housing.

All the funds raised will be divided among the Lighthouse Church and the AACC to speed the process of helping the families that need it the most. You can donate online or send a check payable to Lighthouse Church, 6402 Schroeder Rd., Madison, WI 53711. Please note that the donation is for the “Psalm 46 Relief Fund.”

General Opportunities

Jewish Social Services Needs “Friendly Callers”
JSS is looking for volunteers to become "friendly callers" to call clients who are now very isolated. They also could use some help with shopping. Please check for additional volunteer opportunities at jssmadison.org or contact Paul Borowsky at 608-442-4083. Please also consider making a donation to Jewish Social Services to help clients with basic necessities like housing, food, and medicine. Click here to make a donation.

United Way Is Coordinating Volunteers for Many Community Organizations
United Way of Dane County has compiled a list of volunteer opportunities specifically needed during the pandemic. This includes anetwork of volunteers to support food packaging and deliveries to families while following CDC protocols around sanitation and social distancing.United Way also offers a guide to safe practices for volunteering your time and donating material goods.

United Way of Wisconsin and Serve Wisconsin can put you touch with people and organizations in need. Those include:

  • Remote or in-home projects that can be done over the phone or by computer, making items for those in need, or finding ways to check in with neighbors.
  • Information on donating food, supplies, or blood.
  • In-person volunteering for meal or food distribution, delivery of needed supplies to homes, child care for medical and other critical workers, or other projects.

For more information, visit Volunteer Wisconsin here.  

Protecting Refugees from Physical and Economic Harm 

Our Refugee Shabbat was originally planned for March 27, but due to social distancing we were unable to welcome our scheduled guest speakers or honor our volunteers. Instead, Rabbi Jonathan Biatch and Cantor Jacob Niemi offered a quiet service focused on healing and protection. Rabbi Biatch noted that in some ways we may feel like refugees now, crossing the Red Sea into an unknown land, with risks rising up on all sides of us.

As vulnerable as we feel, we also think of today’s refugees and asylum seekers and the risks they must be facing. The refugee resettlement program at Jewish Social Services of Madison is continuing to support local refugee families to the extent possible. If you are one of our refugee resettlement volunteers, we will let you know when we are able to go into the community to provide services again. Donations of material goods are also on hold.

In the meantime, HIAS has provided a list of actions you can take from home. It includes articles and videos that can help you learn more about the global refugee and asylum crisis.

Voter Outreach During Social Distancing

The TBE Civic Engagement Action Team has found our activities constrained by social distancing. In-person trainings have been postponed, campus and community voter registration tables are gone, and door-to-door activities are on hold. We have been using our time to divide up tasks, coordinate with the Wisconsin Interfaith Civic Engagement Project, and meet by Zoom.

The Wisconsin Interfaith Civic Engagement Project is connecting congregations and community organizations across the state in nonpartisan voter outreach and education. They are currently working to promote online voter registration training, phone banking, video outreach, and possibly a Civics 101 webinar. To avoid unnecessary overlap and extra meetings, we will look to this project for leadership on voter registration drives, door-to-door canvassing, interfaith connections, and candidate forums conducted with other partners.

The TBE Civic Engagement Action Team will focus on making sure that TBE is a 100% voting congregation, planning events for the Jewish community, participating in the League of Women Voters Apartment Project, and planning a Shabbat in September focused on voter engagement.

We encourage anyone who is interested to sign up for both the TBE Civic Engagement Action Team (contact Marcia Vandercook) and the Wisconsin Interfaith Civic Engagement Project (contact Rabbi Bonnie Margulis). You can choose what interests you as new volunteer opportunities develop.

If you want to be part of the voter registration effort when we get back into the field, here are some good online resources:

We will press forward to ensure that all citizens are able to vote and that our voices and values are heard at this critical time in our society.

TBE Immigration Action Team Receives URJ Grant 

The TBE Immigrant Rights Action Team has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice at the Religious Action Center of the Union for Reform Judaism. The grants are intended to support projects advancing justice for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Projects may include direct service, education campaigns, events, advocacy, and other ideas.

TBE will use these funds to focus on legal services in collaboration with the Community Immigration Law Center of Madison (CILC). CILC assists low-income immigrants by providing information, support, and referrals as well as by providing legal representation to a small number of undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation. CILC will use the grant funds to support additional training for the agency’s three staff attorneys to enhance the services provided.

We will update the TBE community about the results of these efforts in the coming months and hope to sponsor a presentation by CILC regarding the trainings that were attended and how they are being used.

Census 2020: If You're Not Counted, You Don't Count

If you have already responded to the 2020 census, thank you so much. If not, we hope you will respond soon to ensure an accurate count.

Your participation promotes social justice by ensuring that federal dollars, such as funding for low-income housing, free and reduced school lunches, food stamps, transportation, Medicaid, and Medicare, reach the communities that need them most. An accurate count also ensures that every person is represented when state and federal legislatures are reapportioned, giving your vote the weight it deserves. For a more detailed explanation, see this recent editorial by Rabbi Bonnie Margulis and Professor Charles Cohen.

In the 2010 census, Wisconsin had the nation’s highest percentage of completed census forms per household. Let’s keep it up!

You can answer the census by phone, by mail, or online. Go to  www.My2020Census.govor or call 1-844-330-2020.

July 6, 2020 14 Tammuz 5780