Much of TBI’s official business and outreach to community members is facilitated through our committees. Below you will find a list of our committees. Click on a committee name to learn more about it. Contact us for more information about committees or call the TBI office, 541.485.7218.
In alignment with the TBI core values, the Accessibility Committee’s mission is to make TBI an inclusive and accessible community and to promote positive disability culture within a Jewish framework.
Co-Chairs: Ellen Scott and Julee Raiskin
The Arts & Aesthetics Committee is committed to the ongoing beautification of Temple Beth Israel. We showcase rotating exhibits in our gallery, facilitate decisions regarding the interior aesthetics of the synagogue, solicit and review donations and support ongoing arts programming.
Co-Chairs: Judith Hankin and Marjorie Feldman
The Rabbis teach us that visiting a sick person removes 1/60th of his or her illness. One is obligated to visit family, friends and non-Jews whether they are in the hospital or at home. The goal of the Bikur Cholim Committee is to extend our care and concern when anyone in our community is ill.
We check in daily at Sacred Heart Hospital, but it is possible we might miss some patients because not everyone identifies their religion when being admitted into the hospital and not everyone in our “family” (TBI community) is Jewish. Naturally, we want to support everyone’s healing.
Please help us in fulfilling this mitzvah by contacting Bernie Maengen – chair of the committee, or the TBI office, if you know of someone who is in the hospital.
Chair: Bernie Maengen
TBI’s Chevra Kadisha, the traditional Jewish burial society, was started about 25 years ago by Rabbi Myron Kinberg, z”l. Our purpose is to assist families at the time of death, along with the rabbis, to provide some traditional services.
Depending on the needs and wishes of the family when a death occurs, the chevra kadisha volunteers may provide assistance with funeral coordination, working with the rabbis, and may meet the family at the hospital, home, or funeral home; we may also accompany the family to choose a burial space. We offer tahara (the ritual washing and dressing of the deceased for burial), meal of consolation for mourners, funeral attendance and shiva minyan services.
The rabbis meet with the families, offer pastoral counseling, help the families plan the funeral, and officiate at the funeral or memorial service. The chevra kadisha’s funeral coordinators help to organize support services. Funeral coordinators depend on lists of volunteers to call for the various tasks needed. For instance, some volunteers choose to provide meals, while others are available to attend a shiva minyan or participate in the taharah ritual.
In addition to directly serving families at the time of a death, our chevra kadisha has published a helpful information booklet, Treasure Each Day: A Guide to Jewish Rituals of Death and Mourning, available in the TBI office. We have also developed a modern guide for tahara which is now being used by chevra kadisha groups across the country. Some of our members have attended national chevra kadisha conferences, and we occasionally provide educational workshops at TBI. In 2003 our chevra kadisha helped to arrange for a Jewish section at the Eugene Masonic Cemetery. If you are interested in learning more about TBI’s Chevra Kadisha, please contact committee chair Maram Epstein.
Chair: Maram Epstein
The Community Education Committee provides a range of exciting Jewish educational experiences for teens, adults, and the general community. Check out our Adult Education page for a current schedule of classes.
Chair: Rabbi Alyson Solomon
The Finance Committee is charged with overseeing TBI’s budget, membership contributions, and fundraising activities.
Chair: Stefan Ostrach
For decades, TBI has welcomed Interfaith families as part of our foundation and our heritage. We are excited to reinvigorate this part of our congregation and community with the initiation of the interfaith committee. Whether you are part of an interfaith couple, family, or have interfaith friends in our community, please join us for our upcoming events. The Interfaith Committee is part of Rabbi Ruhi Sophia’s Project Aleinu initiative.
Contact: Rabbi Ruhi Sophia
Looking for a good book? The TBI library, located on the second floor across from the Talmud Torah office, is a great resource for those of you interested in checking out a book of fiction or non-fiction. The shelves are organized by topic making books easy to find. Here you will find some of the latest in Judaic materials. The library even has a comfortable chair if someone wants to spend time reading without checking something out. Monetary donations may be made to TBI’s Library fund. Happy Reading!
The TBI library, on the second floor of the building, is a wonderful resource for our community. Not only are programs and small services held in this space but we offer an amazing resource of books. Over the years, volunteers have worked on getting the books on the shelves arranged by category. Currently there are approximately 2,000 books in the collection, probably the only Jewish based library in the area. Most of the books have come from donors and many have also been purchased with the use of library funds. The library is always a work in progress and the collection offers a range of materials from fiction, life cycle, literature, Yiddish, Israel, poetry, current issues in Judaism plus much more.
Whether you are doing a research project or looking for something of interest, you will most likely find it here. The library is based on a self-check out honor system. There is comfortable seating if you want to spend some quiet time reading a book in the library or check out something to take with you.
I invite you to have a look at this beautiful space and take advantage of what the library has to offer. Happy reading!
Chair: Jacob Griffin
The Membership Committee seeks tangible ways to make TBI a welcoming and vibrant place for all those interested in learning more about TBI and Judaism. They strive to create ways for members to find connections to people who share their interests and provide opportunities for meaningful participation within the community.
Chair: Jody Kirtner
The purpose of the Preschool Advisory Committee is to support the TBI Preschool in achieving TBI’s overall mission. We strive to ensure we offer the community a thriving, high-quality early childhood option in a Jewish setting with a focus on operations, financials, Preschool Director support, and Board support.
Chair: Kara Schnoes
This committee was formed during the coronavirus lockdown. The Task Force’s charge includes: developing a plan for the eventual, phased reopening of the shul for Board approval; developing in-person event policies and procedures for Board approval; coordinating and monitoring implementation of those policies and procedures; keeping the Board informed of reopening issues; and coordinating the reopening of various TBI programs, including the Talmud Torah and the Preschool.
Chair: Helena Clement
The Sanctuary Committee of Temple Beth Israel was established in 2017 by the Board of Trustees to “honor the long history of the Jewish people in observing the mitzvah of providing sanctuary and protecting the gerim in our midst.” Though we consider gerim to include all who are “othered,” we have a particular emphasis on working for social justice for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Steering Committee members are: Phyllis Bobrow, Judy Boles, Bob Bussel, Zehra Greenleaf, Emily Heilbrun, Ellen Rifkin, and Leslie Taubenfeld.
If you would like to help, please contact Judy Boles.
The Safety Committee works to ensure the safety and security our synagogue facilities, members and guests throughout the year. They also work on emergency preparedness for the congregation and the larger community.
Chair: Scott Fellman
The Talmud Torah committee works collaboratively with the Head of School to support the mission of the Talmud Torah educational program at TBI. During the school year, we meet monthly to review a status report on the program, advise on policies and curriculum, and organize activities to foster a positive sense of Jewish identity and to increase knowledge of the values and practices of Judaism. We also report annually to the congregation on the status and needs of the school.
The committee is interested in hearing from parents and other members of the community. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas for the Talmud Torah program, feel free to contact the chair or any committee member.
Co-Chairs: Naamith Heiblum and Zehra Greenleaf
The Tefillah U’ Minhag committee is charged with overseeing the theory and practice of all matters relating to the ritual affairs of the synagogue. These involve the religious observances of Shabbat, of other holidays and festivals, and of any questions that are affected by religious practices at TBI.
The Committee works closely with the Rabbi, and is in close communication with the Talmud Torah Committee, as religious practices affect the Religious School curriculum and the participation of B’nai Mitzvah students in Shabbat services.
Currently the Committee is developing recommendations to enhance community involvement in our Shabbat services, focusing on the development of increased lay participation in Friday and Saturday services, as well as in the services commemorating all the holidays and festivals.
We would appreciate knowing your thoughts about any issues relating to the conduct of religious services at TBI. On a regular basis we will be posting information on which we’d appreciate congregational response.
To let us know your thoughts, contact the office.
Saturday Morning Chair: Monique Balbuena
Tikkun Olam is translated as “world repair” and embodies a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to heal and strengthen our world. We often hear the phrase in social or environmental policy contexts or in reference to planning, organizing, or acting to safeguard the disadvantaged, or to curb some injustice. The Tikkun Olam Committee (TOC) was formed to make it easier for congregants to connect with opportunities to practice Tikkun Olam.
Chair: Marlene Drescher & Barbara Miller
Tzedakah V’Chesed assists congregants, Jews, and other residents of Lane County in handling short term emergency crises, providing funds to help with financial emergencies, supplying meals and/or assisting with transportation during periods of life transitions. If you are looking for a way to get involved in the community, help others by doing a mitzvah….this committee needs you!
For more information on becoming involved with the work of Tzedakah V’Chesed, please contact the office or call Bev at 541.338.3110 to be added to the volunteer list.
Chair: Bev Behrman
New to Temple Beth Israel?
Read our Information for Visitors, including basic information on our services and expectations of visitors, as well as a brief discussion of how our services reflect our Reconstrucionist approach to Judaism.