“V’Ahavtah ~ You shall love the world with all your thoughts, with all your feelings, and with all your actions. Feel this teaching deep in your heart so that what you say and what you do become examples of love. When you lie down and when you rise up remember how special you are: no one can take your place in this world. When you go out and when you come home remember how special everyone else is: not one can take the place of anyone in this world…” Rabbi Rami Shapiro
By Heila Rogers
Marilyn Conn, one of the founding members of the Jewish congregation Temple Beit Torah (Bayt Tow-rah) in Patty Jewett, carries this prayer on a flowery sheet of folded paper in her wallet, with her at all times.
Teaching and trying to learn this way of thinking could solve a lot of grief in our society.
The temple building has been vandalized on two separate occasions, followed by and prefaced by extraordinary and some also very ordinary, support by neighbors in the area.
A bulletin board in the downstairs reception hall holds cards of support and love written and sent by neighbors after the hate incidents.
Although “Beit Torah” can be translated as “House of Teaching” and the people definitely focus on teaching, learning and creating, Bob Rachlis, introduced as a Torah Study Group teacher clarifies, “I don’t teach, I enable.” He gets serious and maybe even a bit emotional when he refers to the rally in Bon Park after the last vandalism incident, “That greeting in the park was absolutely amazing.”
Marilyn says, “This neighborhood is unbelievable, we were meant to be here.” She tells of the gentleman who lives across the street who got up in the morning and saw the graffiti, got a bucket of soap and water and came over to wash it off. “That gesture from that man said it all.”
The Temple had a BBQ after the meeting, as a thank you to many for their support. Marilyn tells of other times in the past, when she would get calls from people, “You left your lights on in your kitchen, did you mean to leave your lights on?” And Bob mentions those who’ve told him they’ll walk past the building on purpose just to keep an eye on things.
The Temple congregation has been around since 1992 when twelve families went to the Air Force Academy for services. When their chaplain Rabbi Ehrlich was getting ready to retire from the Air Force, they formed a separate congregation to meet in the community with him. They’ve had close working relationships for years with the Sisters of Benet Hill and Faith Presbyterian church and have teamed up together to help the wider community in areas like the Interfaith Hospitality Network and Care & Share. Before their permanent location on Madison St. came up in 2004, they leased a building from the Sisters at one point. At another, they renovated a building near a Krispy Kreme donut shop, “horrible on Yom Kippur when fasting,” jokes Ms. Conn. Then they ended up in Patty Jewett. The building was used as a Baptist church previously.
Current activities at the synagogue vary from art and music in their religious school for children and adults, to Hebrew classes recently open to the whole community. Marilyn says everyone’s welcome, they have open doors.
Coming up on March 10th is a special concert featuring Leon Gurvitch, an accomplished musician, composer and conductor based out of Hamburg, Germany who played at Carnegie Hall last year. Marilyn relates the last time he came to play at Temple Beit Torah, pretty much everyone couldn’t pick their jaws up off the floor the entire time.
Temple Beit Torah
“L’Chayim : To Life”
An Encore Performance
Internationally renowned concert pianist
Jazz, Jewish music, Classical, and more
Joining Mr. Gurvitch in concert are Tim Blake, percussion; Pat Abbott, string bass and Dr. Tom Fowler, tenor and soprano sax.
Saturday, March 10, 2018 – 7:00 pm
522 E. Madison Colorado Springs, CO
TBT members $15, Community $20
Reception follows– “Meet the Artist”
For tickets and information, Call 719-573-0841,
Featured Image: Tzedakah (Charity) Box