Dear Friends and Members of TBE:
I have a vivid memory from the synagogue of my youth that I would like to share with you. While surrounded by hundreds during High Holy Day services, feeling disconnected from the meaning of the day, my heart was touched by the singing of the cantor. I was a troubled teen and the healing power of his voice sparked a desire in me to one day bring Jewish music forth to help others heal. Following my Bat Mitzvah, like many of my generation, I separated from Judaism and cut off that desire along with my Jewish past. Twenty years went by before I would seek out Judaism as a source of comfort and healing and I reconnected with that spark, leading to a path that became a calling. Walking through the doors of Temple Beth El in my early thirties opened a Jewish world so very different from the one I had left as a teenager. Not only did I find a community home, I also found a spiritual connection to a Judaism that was hopeful and healing, meaningful and inclusive. This Judaism opened my heart and inspired me to come closer; closer to God, to my Jewish soul and to a Jewish mission of building a better world.
What I realized early on, was that Judaism provided a never ending toolbox for healing, and for coping with our lives and challenging world in which we live. My teacher, Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi of blessed memory, who passed out of the earthly realm a year ago today, spoke of Judaism as a vital organ of the world, along with all the other religions and cultures seeking universal healing. He taught the importance of remembering and honoring the Judaism of old, while bringing forth its spiritual God energy to address the needs of the present and the future. After ten years as TBEs spiritual leader and rabbinic student, I am excited to say that I look forward to a new year of delving deep into the “spiritual juice” of Judaism, as Reb Zalman would say, and, as your Rabbi, bringing it forward to the community in a meaningful and joyful way. I hope you will join me on this journey and this ongoing mission to find the beauty, wisdom and joy in Yiddishkeit, and bringing it home to blossom.
Wishing you a wonderful summer and a sweet and joyful New Year as we look ahead.