Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT


BEKI Families Weekly Newsletter

Beginning This Week: All Family Services at 10:45 am!

This is the first week of all BEKI family services meeting at the same time, and we are so excited to welcome everyone back!

Children’s Havura will meet outdoors in the courtyard.

K-2 Kehila will meet indoors in Classroom 4.

Junior Congregation will meet indoors in the library.

Please note the new mask policy starting this week for BEKI as a whole:

  • Masks are optional for all vaccinated people, both indoors and outdoors.

    • You may see more unmasked adults this week, whether indoors or outdoors

  • Masks are required for all unvaccinated people over 2 years old, both indoors and outdoors.

    • Our old policy only applied to kids over 5. Children 3-5 will need to wear masks, even if they haven’t in the past.

    • We will have children’s masks to use if you forget!

All services will begin at 10:45 am. All will end in time for kids to lead Ein Keloheinu in the main sanctuary, if they’d like, and to join outdoor Kiddush with the whole BEKI community.

Contact me with any questions:

Fun with the Parsha: Using Your Words

This week’s parsha, Chukat, begins with the search for a very special cow. The cow needs to be red all over, with no spots. It needs never to have worked with farm machinery like a yoke. This red cow is the only kind that the priest Elazar, Aaron’s son, can use in a special ritual in the Temple.

All red (really a brownish red) cows can be pretty rare. If you are ever on a driving trip and see cows, look out for an all red one!

The bigger thing that happens in this parsha is that Moses gets some instructions, and does NOT follow them. Have you ever done that before?

The Israelites, still wandering in the desert, do not have enough water to drink. God tells Moses to talk to a particular large rock, and water will come out of it for the people to use. Now, Moses is feeling frustrated with the people’s many complaints, about water and about every other part of wandering in a desert. So this very frustrated Moses does not make the best choice. He hits the rock, not once but twice!

The interesting thing is, Moses’ actions still work. Water does come out of the rock. But what we do isn’t the only thing that matters; how we do things also matters a lot. Moses was a leader who the whole people watched and followed. Instead of using his words, he used hitting. The Israelites watched Moses choose the more violent way of getting what he wanted. They might imitate him in the future.

For this reason, God is pretty mad at Moses. Even Moses, one of the greatest Jewish leaders in our whole history, could sometimes make mistakes.

For older kids: Did you know that among the many challenges and annoyances the Israelites faced in the desert was an infestation of snakes?! Learn about fear, spiritual growth, and snakes in the parsha in this video from BimBam.


Seeking a Few Good K-2 Kehila and Junior Congregation Leaders

As K-2 Kehila and Junior Congregation move back to meeting every week, we need more leaders! I will be reaching out to families who have led before and who attend these services frequently, but new leaders are very welcome, too.

  • I can meet with first time leaders to help plan a successful and engaging grade-school service

  • We have seasoned leaders who enjoy co-leading with first-timers–let me know if you’d like to be matched with a partner

  • Older kids (5th grade and up) make popular leaders for K-2 Kehila. Would your tween like to lead a service for younger kids?

Let me know! –Annie

Jewish eBooks of the Week

Jewish Children’s eBooks through the Public Library App Hoopla: Hoopla is an app for your phone or tablet, as well as on a computer at You can make an account using your public library card.

You can check out free eBooks and audiobooks on Hoopla, from the selection your library has purchased. The New Haven Public Library offers a number of Jewish kids’ books on Hoopla, and libraries in the suburbs should as well.

For a silly connection to this week’s parsha, you could pick any book on the Hoopla app, or in your home library, that has cows in it. Can you spot any all-red cows in the pictures that would be perfect for the priest Elazar?

For a more serious thematic connection to the parsha, check out When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang to talk about handling anger and frustration better than Moses does.

Congregation Beth-El Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724


Annie Norman-Schiff
Youth and Family Programming Director
Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel
85 Harrison Street
New Haven CT 06515

Join me for (online) coffee to talk about kids, teens, and families at BEKI!

Useful Resources

Leading Childrens’ Services


High Holy Days Program for BEKI Kids
Weekly Parsha Videos
Answers to Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask

The United Synagogue of
Conservative Judaism

PJ Library:
Free Jewish Children’s Books


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