Our Sponsor Organization: Temple Beth Hillel
Most of our Pack Meetings and some of our events are held in the activity center at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village. The Temple is located at 12326 Riverside Drive, between Whitsett and Laurel Canyon, on the south side of Riverside. The parking lot is actually behind the main building, which can be accessed by making a right at Laurelgrove (if you are heading east on Riverside), and then making a right into the first driveway. The activity center is at the opposite end of the parking lot.
Why the Temple, you ask? Every Cub Scout Pack must have a sponsoring or chartering organization. It may be a church, synagogue, community center, etc. That organization provides the Pack with facilities and other services to help the Pack run smoothly. The Pack, in turn, helps out the chartering organization when necessary.
The chartering organization for our Pack is Temple Beth Hillel. The Temple provides us with rooms for our meetings, refreshments, access to photocopy machines, and other things that assist us in many ways. We are sometimes called upon to return the favor by participating in open houses or helping the Temple out with fundraising activities. It’s a relationship that goes both ways and has been very successful thus far for both sides.
It is very important to note that although our chartering organization is a Jewish temple, Pack 311 is not a Jewish organization or even a Jewish Cub Scout pack for that matter. There are Cub Scout Packs which “advertise” themselves as being observant of one religion or another exclusively, and conduct their business in such a manner. We are not one of those Packs.
Pack 311 is open to people of all faiths, as evidenced by the broad range of our membership. So if you joined Pack 311 hoping that you will learn to speak Hebrew and celebrate Jewish holidays with the Pack, your expectations will not be realized.
On the other hand, if you are hesitant about the Pack because you are not Jewish and fear that you will not be accepted or will be treated differently, your fears are unfounded. Quite simply, religion (of any kind) plays almost no role in our everyday Pack activities. The only exception is that the Boy Scouts of America encourages reverence and adherence to the faith of your family’s choosing ("A Scout is… brave, clean and reverent").
Thus, you may have, as part of working towards certain awards, a requirement to observe your own faith, however you define that faith within your own household. Likewise, awards may be presented by the Pack to boys who have earned "Religious Emblems.” But such ceremonies are strictly non-sectarian, and incorporate any and all boys who have earned the emblems of their chosen faiths (the BSA has emblems for over 140 different faiths).
Having said all of the above, the reality is that being sponsored by a Jewish Temple creates certain expectations on our part. Out of respect for our chartering organization, we avoid having official Pack events at the Temple on Friday evenings and Saturdays (the Jewish sabbath), as well as on Jewish holidays. If the Pack is providing food at an event, we avoid serving things that obviously fly in the face of the Jewish laws of kosher (pork, shellfish).And some of the things that the Pack may be called upon to assist the Temple with may have a decidedly “Jewish” flavor in the sense that they take place at, or are sponsored by, the Temple for members of the Jewish faith. Again, this is all part of the symbiotic relationship between the Pack and its chartering organization.