Shana Tovah. Happy New Year. As you are reading this, we have just celebrated the beginning of our Jewish New Year – 5767. The High Holidays, though appropriately solemn and somber at times, provide a wonderful opportunity for rejoicing, reflection and renewal.
Despite the personal challenges that we each confront and despite the many causes for serious concern around the world — in Israel, Iraq and the Sudan, to name a few — we each must strive to find something to be thankful for, something to celebrate. It really isn’t that hard. Learn to appreciate the little things – a toddler who greets you at the door each day after work, wearing an ear-to-ear grin; a first grader who will not go to bed without you reading him a story and tucking him in; eating dinner as a family, instead of as passing ships.
Look outside your home too. You even can find causes for celebration where you work. Our professional lives often seem so hectic and so focused on long-term goals, that we rarely pause to revel in the smaller day-to-day accomplishments.
Participation in community activities often also provides an opportunity for celebration. Like-minded people finding the time, despite busy personal and professional schedules, to join together for a common cause, participate in a political rally, attend a charity concert, or serve food at a soup kitchen. How could this not be a cause for celebration?
Our Temple Beth Sholom community has much to celebrate. As you know, we have completed a major renovation project, one that was essential on many levels. Prior to the renovation, the building was in bad shape, far worse, as it turned out, than we even realized. The results are undeniable. The “old” parts of the building are barely recognizable in their former condition. The new chapel and library are beautiful and already seeing daily use.
This renovation was not an easy project to complete. The planning and fundraising were difficult. At times, it seemed that many outside forces were conspiring to delay the project and to increase its costs. But we pulled together and pulled through. And we have great cause to celebrate.
The weekend of October 20-22 will be dedicated to celebration. We have planned an Oneg Shabbat after services on the 20th, honoring the renovations committee. On Saturday night, October 21st, we will hold a Gala Dinner-Dance. Get dressed up, get a babysitter if you need one, and plan to have some fun! On Sunday, the 22nd, we will host a community wide brunch and tour of the building. Please come to these events. Come to all of them, or come to one of them, but come.
Several people have told me over the past couple of months that we need more social events at the Temple, more reasons for people to get together. This celebratory weekend has been planned with that goal in mind. Hopefully, there is something for everyone.
And if you are “on the fence” for some reason, take a chance. Come on down. You’ve got very little to lose, and lots to gain. The strength of our Temple Beth Sholom community is our membership, which is each of us. Joining in this celebration weekend affords each of us the chance to spend time with old friends, to make some new friends, and to revel in and shep nachas from what we have accomplished as a community.
See you in a couple of weeks!