I write this message on the eve of departing for Israel next week. I simply cannot wait to feel the ground and breathe in the air.
It has been an incredible year at Netivot Shalom! We are gearing up for the most critical
financial campaign in our shul's history while experiencing so many powerful communal moments. We continue to grow as a shul, deepen our connections to other agencies and faith-organizations, and expand our Jewish learning opportunities for every generation. We are all, professionals and members, focused on supporting Netivot Shalom's mission to be the sacred Jewish home our shul's founders had once only dared dream.
In addition to innumerable gatherings, in addition to preparing the launch of our capital campaign, we've been blessed to share this past year:
10 people having affirmed their Jewish identities,
6 Bnai Mitzvah,
countless Adult Education opportunities,
the consecration of a new communal Torah,
visiting scholars and activists,
about 100 children in our Shorashim Hebrew School/Preschool orbit,
dozens of shiva minyanim,
and many, many more intense/sacred life-moments. Our work as a community, and mine as rabbi, is a source of such such intense meaning that all I can do is offer my gratitude. I feel full.
My family will be on vacation in Israel for about a week before 15 members of our community join us there for the shul's Israel trip. I'll be away from my office from July 6-26, and am going to try to "unplug" as best I can. I'm grateful for the support I receive on a regular basis from the staff, board, and general membership, and I cherish that life for Netivot Shalom never has been, nor should it ever become, truly dependent upon a rabbi, no matter how emphatically he or she loves our sacred community. All our moving parts are truly moving.
This has been an enormous year for us as a shul. Next year will be one of sacred heavy lifting, a task I know we will accomplish together. I am proud of what we have achieved as a shul, and am looking forward to hitting the ground running as we continue the journey together!
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…