March 2015 Bazman

2420 East Hillcrest Drive Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 (805) 497-7101

Bazman Hazeh

“In These Times”

Adar - Nisan 5775

VOL. 48 NO. 6

MARCH 2015

Rebecca L. Dubowe, Rabbi Barry Diamond, Interim Rabbi

Aliza Goland, Executive Director Marcy Goldberg, Director of Education Donna Becker, ECC Director

Seth Stevens, President, Board of Directors Alan Greenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus

David Shukiar, Cantor

Expanding Our Circles


few months ago, I attended a community lecture. The room was filled with a hundred people, clumped into groups of twos and threes. Entering the room by myself, I immediately scanned the crowd for some familiar face — anyone. Finding none, I chose an inconspicuous seat in the back and listened to the lecture through a veil of isolation that comes from having no one with whom to share the experience.

group of friends to sit with. The first circles that we have formed have been for families with children of early childhood and elementary school ages. We have had circles in Newbury Park, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, a super-circle that included the entire Early Childhood Center, and soon will be hosting circles in Thousand Oaks and beyond. Relationships take time to develop. They take a willingness to share our own stories and to listen to others’ stories with an open heart. While we are still developing these circles for our families with younger children, there is no reason why you cannot form your own circle in the meantime. We would be happy to help you identify some neighbors and distribute some invitations. Just send a note to our Circlehood chair, Juli Rycus ( If you choose to host a circle on a Saturday afternoon or evening, we will even give you a Havdalah candle and a special CD that leads the service by itself. Or maybe one of the clergy will join you. Our thanks to Juli and to the many circle hosts over the past few months. Let us form our circles of friends and allow those circles of caring to expand ever outward, encompassing all who need community and connection.

It is a tragic irony that we can feel most lonely in a crowd of people we do not know. When we thought about how we can create a sense of connection among our members, we realized that it is challenging to make connections during services in the sanctuary or in carpool lines or classes. We make connections with one another when we meet each other outside of temple, discovering common interests or experiences, and bringing those

relationships back into temple. We may celebrate, or pray, or aspire together at temple; but we connect and form our circles of friends in our homes and neighborhoods. That is why we created a unique program called Circlehood: A circle of friends in your neighborhood . Circlehood gathers together people who live in the same general area, to meet and schmooze and celebrate together. Our first meetings have been at the home of one of the circle members, but in the future, a circle may choose to go out to dinner together, see a movie together, or even come to services, this time with a whole

L’Shalom, Rabbi Barry Diamond

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