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Mishpatim 5782 ~ January 28, 2022

As we prepare for this Shabbat,  on behalf of the Board of Directors and Congregation Beth El, I would like to extend a todah rabbah to Ella Sackett as she prepares to move forward in her work in the Jewish community as the JFEC Holocaust Resource Center Coordinator.

As the new rabbi of Congregation Beth El, I appreciated that Ella guided me through this really strange transition during Covid. Transitions for rabbis and congregations are always a challenge. There are so many details of nuances within a community, and together with Merrill, Ella always extended herself to insure that I gained an in-depth knowledge of events, people and situations. I am keenly aware that Ella was also not only a fellow staff member of Rabbi Safman’s, but also a true friend.

Ella currently serves as the director of our religious school and has a wonderful rapport with the families.  Students in her adult Hebrew class appreciate her commitment to them and to the pronunciation of letters, vowels and words as they learn to read and to speak.

We all are appreciative of Ella’s yeoman’s work in preparation of our Zoom services for the High Holy Days. Her detail in insuring that pictures of congregants in front of the aron hakodesh appeared at the appropriate times of readings, her guiding congregants through the zoom quagmire and many other technical issues are all greatly appreciated.

My first recollection of meeting Ella was on the Friday Kabbalat Shabbat services during my interview at Cross Roads Community Church. As I began services, she walked in, sat in the front row, took out her phone, held it up to videoconference the service to one of our congregants who resides in an assisted living facility. At the time, not knowing what she was doing, I was somewhat taken aback by someone brazenly holding up a phone and videoing the service on Shabbat. A while back, I shared with Ella that I hadn’t expected someone in a Conservative shul to take out a phone and video my service. It goes against everything that we stand for. But once she explained it to me, and who was on the other end of the call, I was rather pleased that she had the thought pattern to do this. In retrospect Ella was actually the pioneer in our congregation preparing us for what would become our current method of services – Zoom tefilah (prayer).

Please join us at services this Shabbat morning, as we take a moment to offer our appreciation as a congregation, and as friends. As only Ella could say when I asked her about perhaps postponing the tribute to the following Shabbat due to the impending winter storm: It should be “no problem.”  “I think the way from bedroom to living room won't be too icy 😄.” At that time, we will offer a mishebeyrach of thanksgiving and wellbeing for Ella, and wish her well as she continues her work on behalf of our community. During our tribute, we will invite you to share a thought tribute for Ella.

Ella, this is not shalom u’l’hitra'ot, in any way, shape or form. We look forward to your continuing involvement in Congregation Beth El.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782