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Message from our President

Welcome to the Year 5782

Hello, friends, neighbors, and all Beth Boruk family members,


It’s time to push the “reset” button.


Reflecting on the past year and a half so many things have been askew and unfamiliar.  Among those things have been:


  • the ability to be in the presence of our friend and family members due to the transmission of the COVID-19 virus

  •  the marking of time in a typical fashion

  • the freedom to come and go as we please without concern for the physical welfare of others around us


What has enhanced our lives has been:


  • technology that has allowed us to join together for services

  • a student rabbi that has drawn us together with technology in this way

  • the ability to see and hear each other over ZOOM as we were at home


Entering this new year reveals promise.  The promises include:


  • return to in-person services with our temple family and friends

  • the ability to meet our student rabbi, Randall Burke and his family in person

  • the promise of further gatherings with celebrations of joy and tradition


As always, I wish everyone a year of health, success, and happiness.

May JOY return and HAPPINESS increase.


Lawrence Simkin

President, Richmond Jewish Congregation

Our Student Rabbi Jamie Starr

Shalom Beth Boruk Community,


I am thrilled to be joining you this year as your student rabbi. I am looking forward to a year of growing together through prayer, study, and celebration.


Here is a little snippet of my story: Born and raised in Northern Virginia, I was always drawn to Judaism. I got my undergraduate degree in philosophy and psychology from Swarthmore College, where I led the Jewish community and organized services and study sessions. Before starting rabbinical school, I worked for two years as a Jewish educator, teaching kids, teens, and adult learners. Through all these experiences, I’ve found that interpersonal connection is the most important part of the work that I do. I’m excited to build connections and facilitate spiritual and religious moments together this year.


As I begin my time with you at Beth Boruk, we, as a Jewish people, are also entering a time of communal beginning. It is actually a rather delicate time for us. In the weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah, during the Hebrew month of Elul, we are tasked with cheshbon hanefesh, literally an accounting of the soul. We are invited to reflect on our innermost thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams, and we are given the opportunity to focus on self healing and acceptance. This process is a personal one, and yet we are all encouraged to do it at the same time. As with most things in Judaism, this communal reflection time is intentional. Our tradition upholds both sacred individuality and the importance of joining together in community. This year, I welcome you to join me in the work of cheshbon hanefesh, knowing that Jews all around the world are doing the same, so that we may enter the new year together feeling refreshed and renewed.


I look forward to joining you all for the High Holy Days and spending many meaningful Jewish moments together this year.



Jamie Starr

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