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Our members volunteer their time and their passion for what matters most to them.

TBI is a community-led organization- while we have an active board of directors and spiritual leadership staff, none of this would be possible without our dedicated members who find ways to lead, contribute, participate and teach in their own unique ways. If you've been thinking of getting involved, there are plenty of ways to find where you fit right in! 

Don't know where to start? 

Our volunteers fall into a few main categories. You can click through to the detail pages to learn more about the specific tasks and duties that volunteers often perform, or reach out to us directly if you already have a sense of where you'd like to get involved.

 

Rituals during Shabbat and holiday services 

Our Shabbat and holiday services are led by Rabbi Jason and Cantor Ken with significant involvement and leadership from dedicated and interested community members. Our members take on duties including leading parts of the Torah service and giving commentary about the weekly Torah portion, as well as co-ordinating these volunteers for our weekly services. Some volunteers attend weekly services, while others give whatever time they can in co-ordination with the larger team. 

You do not need to have prior experience leading rituals or services- we'll teach you everything you need to know- and there are opportunities in Hebrew and in English to be a part of the service. 

 

Task forces and committees

These dedicated teams are responsible for different aspects of the upkeep and operation of the temple, from the kitchen to maintenance of the building and grounds to social media and marketing to managing religious rituals and holiday events. Meetings are typically held monthly, and volunteers may commit to one or more work sessions per month of a few hours. 

 

Torah school and family programming 

The Torah school meets most Sundays during the school year, running educational programming, music, arts and crafts and holiday events for families and children. Volunteers at the school are not just parents and graduates, but interested community members as well. Do you have a love of teaching? Do you like getting your hands dirty (literally) with paint and pottery? Do you want to help us organize our supplies and classrooms? Whatever you think you can contribute, there's almost definitely a need for it! Volunteers can commit to any number of days that they are able. 

 

High Holiday planning committee

The High Holidays are a big push for any Jewish organization- at TBI we put on multiple services, classes and events, and it is all co-ordinated by our masterful volunteers. The High Holiday committee typically meets from June through the Fall and organizes all aspects of our High Holiday roster- staffing, logistics, rituals, creative and marketing, communication and of course food and drinks. This year is especially challenging as we adapt our plans for the emergency orders in California and Los Angeles, with our members' health and safety in mind. 

 

Everything else

If you'd like to reach out to us to propose something new- a committee, class or work to be done- or to find something that's just right for you, you can reach us at admin@tbila.org.

Our services are led by a cantor or rabbi alongside our dedicated members.

TBI members play a unique role in our religious services, from leading the Torah service on Shabbat to performing prayers, readings and rituals throughout our holiday services and events. We like to engage all of our members to participate casually in services, offering blessings on the Torah and reading from the Siddur, and we encourage everyone to consider taking on a more regular role in our services. Our staff will always offer thorough training and guidance for those looking to get involved, and you do not have to make a weekly commitment. 

There are many ways to get involved, and we are always happy to talk to you and find what is the most meaningful to you- just reach out to admin@tbila.org

If you're looking for somewhere to start, here are some of the roles that we are always looking for members to take on:

Gabbai (Torah service leader/conductor):

The Gabbai'im (plural for Gabbai in Hebrew) are the conductors of the Torah service- the portion of the Shabbat service, roughly in the middle, where we take out the Torah scrolls and read a weekly portion from them. There are two Gabbai'im who lead the Torah service each week- Gabbai Rishon (first Gabbai) and Gabbai Sheni (second Gabbi). The Gabbai Rishon recites prayers and blessings in order, calls members up to the Torah to recite the blessing over the reading of the Torah (this is called an Aliyah) and gives those members a blessing afterwards. The Gabbai Sheni calls out the page numbers and verse numbers of the Torah portion, so that the congregation can follow along with the Torah reader. 

The only thing that is really required to be a Gabbai is some Hebrew proficiency- you'll need to be able to recite certain Hebrew blessings and songs, to read Hebrew names, and to follow along with the Torah portion. Both Gabbai'im typically sing the Hebrew verses that go along with the Torah procession (when the cantor carries the Torah scroll through the sanctuary), and both Gabbai'im typically hold the Torah scrolls themselves at different points during the Torah service. Both Gabbai'im often assist members and readers to follow along with the Hebrew blessings, and to follow along with the Torah portion in the Torah scroll. 

You do need to be Jewish to perform these rituals (though you do not need to be Jewish to attend services).

If you've never carried a Torah scroll before, don't worry- we'll teach you. If you've never recited blessings before, don't worry- they're all printed out beforehand. Typically, Gabbai'im attend one or two in-person training sessions, and read through some preparatory materials (mostly in English except for the Hebrew blessings). Once training is complete, Gabbai'im co-ordinate their schedules to try to cover as many services as possible, but a weekly commitment is not required. 

Drash (Weekly Torah commentary):

Near the end of the weekly Torah service, you'll often hear a commentary that relates the portion of the Torah that was just recited to some common themes in modern life, Jewish or otherwise. This is an integral part of the service, because we don't just recite the Torah, we learn from it. This is called the "Drash," and it is almost always given by one of our members. 

The Drash does not need to be the type of commentary that you might find in a Siddur or in the text- rather it often comes from our members' own experience, and reflects their thinking about how the Torah portion of that week led them to think differently about something in their lives or in their community. You do not need to be a trained public speaker to give one either- what is the most impactful is when our members share experiences, wisdom and insight that is new to the community. 

Some of our members participate in an e-mail list where they rotate and offer a Drash on multiple occasions throughout the year- we welcome all levels of commitment, whether there is a specific Torah portion that speaks to you, a life occasion that is important to you to commemorate, or whether you have a budding interest in trying it out once or twice, or even once in awhile.

The TBI Board leads the following committees (that are always looking for volunteers!)

Membership:

This committee is responsible for planning the details of membership- rates, renewal procedures, and working with our existing and incoming members to make sure they have the support they need. We're busiest in the summer and leading up to the High Holidays, but we're always looking for volunteers who can commit the time to help us reach out to our membership and guide new members. 

Ritual:

This committee deals with everything that relates to the content of our services- the rituals- and how we really practice our Judaism. It is not set in stone, and we are constantly assessing how we can best serve our members' needs, and how to make sure that our traditions are relevant and meaningful. We're seeking members who attend Shabbat and holiday services, and who are interested in thinking through them with us.  

Fundraising:

This committee deals with donations, campaigns, and everything related to how we assess the needs of our community and raise money to meet them. We are looking for members who might be interested in reaching out to our members to see how we can best support them, and how they can support TBI through our fundraising campaigns.

Kitchen:

This committee takes care of our kitchen facilities, and manages the Kiddush lunch that follows our in-person services and the food and drinks that accompany our holiday events. During the covid-19 stay-at-home order, we have closed the doors to our building and grounds and suspended food and drink service for now- the kitchen committee will resume planning for our services and events once we re-open, and we are looking for members interested in working through those upcoming challenges. 

Building and grounds:

This committee makes sure that our beautiful natural landscape, gardens and outdoor facilities are well-maintained, and plans for the future of our grounds. There is a lot of work that goes into the upkeep of our property, and we are always seeking volunteers with any level of experience who are willing to lend the occasional hand. Although this committee always has work to do, volunteers are encouraged to make any time commitment that they are able to.

During the covid-19 stay-at-home order we are still actively tending to our property through this committee and its volunteers, while maintaining strict social distancing and protection measures. We are actively seeking volunteers who are willing to take on simple maintenance tasks such as painting wooden trim or wrought-iron fencing.

Communication:

This committee is responsible for formal communication from TBI to its members- our website, advertisements and materials often distributed and sent through other committees via our e-mail outreach. We are working through the transition to Shulcloud (even as this site is live, there is still work to do!) and are always interested in members who want to have a say in the voice of TBI. 

Events:

This committee plans the logistics of holiday programming and events- both in-person and online. The events committee often works hand-in-hand with the ritual and kitchen committees to co-ordinate successful programming, and always meets well in advance of major Jewish holidays to figure out what needs to be in place. We are looking for members who are interested in planning with us- both the details and the bigger-picture view of how we want holidays and special events to look and feel during and after the stay-at-home order. 

Fri, October 30 2020 12 Cheshvan 5781