Reflections from Our Beverly Multifaith Thanksgiving Service

On Tuesday, Nov. 22 The Beverly Multifaith Coalition led a beautiful service entitled “Let Love Be Our Legacy” at First Parish Unitarian Universalist. I counted at least 30 TBA people in attendance, including some of our children who sang with Marcy Yellin. Other congregations represented included Zen Center North Shore, First Baptist, St. Peter’s Episcopal, Gateway Presbyterian, Second Congregational, Memorial United Methodist, North Shore Friends Meeting (Quaker). A fabulous choir was made up of members of various congregations. Below are the words I shared for my teaching.  Blessings for a nurturing and delicious Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Good evening. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for our blessings, and tonight I want to express gratitude for all of you and for the opportunity to come together during a time when there are forces in our country pulling people apart.

This is also a time when many of us are fighting against injustice in so many forms – including our Native American brothers and sisters at Standing Rock in North Dakota who are protesting the pipeline threatening their sacred land, and all those who stand with them. We must acknowledge this particular struggle of Native Americans as we celebrate Thanksgiving and stand against darkness.
Just weeks ago, Leonard Cohen, the 82 year old poet and songwriter, passed away. Cohen’s life was a splendidly inclusive and accomplished one. A man deeply true to his Jewish roots who studied with rabbis, he was also a Zen priest and celebrated many other religious traditions. One of the last songs he wrote, “You Want It Darker,” was a message for our times. It is a protest against the darkness and evil human beings enact in God’s name, and also against a God who seems to remain silent in the face of inconceivable suffering and injustice.
Throughout the song, he exclaims hineini, here I am, the Hebrew word spoken by the biblical Abraham, Isaac and Moses at critical moments in their stories. Here I am.
Echoing many of the prophets and sages of old, Cohen seems to be crying: God, I love you but I don’t love everything about the world you created. I love you but I cannot love all the human beings you created in your image. I love the love you have for us, but I am speechless before the innumerable acts of hatred, violence and murder committed in your name. I love you, but I do not understand you. Yet here I am – hineini – and still the world grows darker.
Even in this disturbing, despairing song, Cohen upholds life and hope. How? By including a recitation of the Mourners Kaddish, a prayer that affirms life and hope even in the face of despair and loss. For like his Jewish ancestors, Cohen was sustained by a tradition that sees the brokenness of the world as a call to act, and a call for justice. Our sages taught that when God created the universe, the divine light was placed in vessels that shattered from the shear brilliance of their contents — a kind of cosmic catastrophe. Our task as human beings is Tikkun — to join with one another as holy beings to heal and repair this shattered world. Or, as Leonard Cohen sang in one of his most famous compositions, Anthem:


What Do Human Rights Mean To You? A Community Conversation

Monday, December 5, 6:30PM at the Beverly Public Library 32 Essex Street                                                                                                                              

 As the newly formed Beverly Human Rights Committee sets out to define itself and its goals, the committee members felt it was important to conduct a community meeting. Please join us and meet the Committee members! It will take place in the Sohier Room at the Beverly Public Library. There will be networking with refreshments from 6:30pm to 7pm and then a facilitated community conversation revolving around Human Rights Issues in Beverly from 7pm to 9pm. We hope you can join us!


Sons of Jacob Community Enrichment Speaker , Dr. Nehemia Polen

Join us Sunday December 11, 10:00 AM (following contemplative service and light breakfast) for our annual Sons of Jacob Enrichment Fund Guest Speaker Dr. Nehemia  Polen.

Dr. Nehemia Polen, distinguished Professor of Jewish Thought at Boston’s Hebrew College, will speak on one of the most compelling and inspiring Jewish sages of the 20th century:  Rabbi Kalonymos Shapiro (1889 – 1943), the famed “Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto.” In the midst of the most inconceivable persecution and suffering, the Rebbe inspired Jews to cultivate their inner voices and find their special, personal place in Judaism. Dr. Polen will also demonstrate that the Rebbe’s earlier works are not only equally compelling, but particularly relevant to the challenges facing contemporary Jewry.

Dr. Polen received his Ph.D. from Boston University, where he served as a teaching fellow for the late Nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel. He is the author of The Rebbe’s Daughter (recipient of a National Jewish Book Award); The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto; and, most recently, Filling Words with Light: Hasidic and Mystical Reflections on Jewish Prayer (with Lawrence Kushner).

 The event is free and open to all.  Reservations requested. Call 978-927-3211 or email 


Political Breakfast Update

Our Featured speaker former Lt Governor Thomas P. O’Neill III has had to cancel due to illness.

We are pleased to announce that stepping in for Tom will be well known political consultant Michael Goldman. Michael is the principal of Goldman O’Neil of Boston as well as a political columnist for the Lowell Sun and various other media outlets. While we are disappointed and wish Tom  O’ Neill a speedy recovery, Michael promises to have very timely and interesting analysis of the current  political climate.

We look forward to seeing you all Sunday morning!


Let Love Be Our Legacy: Beverly Multifaith Thanksgiving Service Tuesday 11/22

This is a good time to come together to build relationships and to give thanks for our community.

Tuesday, 11/22, 7:00 PM, First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church (the big yellow church downtown Cabot Street)

We will join together with our brothers and sisters from many faith communities such as the Marblehead Zen Center in Beverly, Temple B’Nai Abraham, First Baptist Church, St. Peter’s Episcopal, First Parish Church, UU, Second Congregational Church, UCC and the Friends Society of the North Shore.

A combined multi-faith pick up choir will rehearse at 6:30PM. All are welcome!  Children who want to practice with Marcy Yellin will also meet then.


RSVP By Dec. 1 For The TBA Sisterhood New York City Trip

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity! Thanks to a grant from the Jewish Women’s Endowment Fund of the North Shore and generous sponsorship from TBA Sisterhood the cost of the trip has been reduced!

This exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art displays over two hundred Crusades-era pieces by artists of different faiths expressing their love for Jerusalem.

“A captivating show…”-The New Yorker

Afterwards, participants will have the choice of visiting either The Jewish Museum to see “Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey” or the Neue Galerie New York for “Gustav Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918.”


Coming Together Shabbat Service 11/11 7:00 PM

All Welcome. Come for community, connection, comfort, and some Shabbat peace.
This has been a divisive and difficult time for many. No matter who you voted for, let us come together for the sake of empathy, hope and light. We will also talk about how we might move forward as a community. For those who want to have a conversation (whether or not you could make it to the one on Thursday) please come before the service at 6:15. Shabbat shalom.

Community Conversation and Prayer TODAY

Wednesday, 5:30-6:30

This has been a divisive election and there’s a lot of fear. Let us come together for reflections and prayer – no matter who we voted for or what our concerns are we need to begin by being together. Teens encouraged to come. If you need childcare please let Rabbi A know. If you can’t make this and want to find another time to talk, please contact her.

Blessings for healing, loving, and listening.

“It has been told to you , O mortal, what is good, and what God requires of you: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8


Neighborhood Shabbat November 18

Potluck Dinners in Community Members’ Homes

Join us for Shabbat peace, good food, and wonderful people!  Neighborhood Shabbat is a way to deepen connections with new and old friends in a relaxed setting.

Please contact Erin by 11/10 at or 978-927-3211.  We will match you with a home and contacted by your host.

Please note there is no regular service at TBA that evening.