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L'Shana Tovah!

09/08/2023 10:18:48 AM


Dear Friends,

L’Shana Tovah!  It is with joyful anticipation, and more than a little bit of disbelief, that we at Temple Beth David look forward to welcoming all of you to High Holiday services, beginning with Erev Rosh Hashanah on Friday September 15.   Our congregation is on a path of gladness and growth, a year of taking those first steps together into our future while honoring the richness of our past.  May the coming year bring us all this and more, as we each search out the prayers, the melodies, the spirit and the new directions we need most.

As a famous proverb is fond of reminding us, it’s never too late.  It’s never too late to change, to start something new, to do good in the world, or in the words of George Elliot: “to become what we might have been.”  By the same token, it’s never too early either.  One of our favorite High Holiday pastimes is to comment, assess, or some years lament the “early” or “late” placement of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on the secular calendar.  There are years they began the same week as Labor Day, and we felt that was frightfully early!  One year from now when Rosh Hashanah falls on October 2, I doubt I’m going out on a limb in thinking we’ll all be struck by how “late” that feels.  The irony of course, is that the Hebrew date is the same each year: the first day of the new month of Tishrei.  In the best sense, no matter when these days find us, they are right on time.

With these last waning days of Elul, we have the perfect opportunity to approach our High Holidays with intentionality.  I’d like to offer you a few ways to focus your minds and hearts, as we prepare:

When you enter the sanctuary, bring your receptivity to change along with your attachment to tradition.  Weunderstand the importance of both, and are grateful every day for this congregation’s enthusiasm when it comes to stretching our spirits and trying different things. At the same time, we understand that no time of year calls us into our relationship with sensory and liturgical memories of the past quite like this time does.  It will be our mission to honor the sacred blend of what has been and what is yet to be.

Give some thought to your High Holiday contribution before Yom Kippur.At our Yom Kippur morning service, Temple Beth David’s president Kim Math will speak to us about the highlights of the past year, all we have to be proud of and all we hope to accomplish.   As we well know, our ongoing work is strengthened by the incredible dedication of our lay leadership and the support of our congregants.  I ask you to consider your Yom Kippur gift before arriving at services.  Some gifts are monetary, others are gifts of time or skills.  Each contribution will ensure that our synagogue continues to nurture us and the generations that follow us.  That’s why each one is so meaningful. 

Remember when you were a brand new congregant?One of the sections of the Shofar Service on Rosh Hashanah is called Zichronot, or remembrances.  For some, that first High Holiday season at TBD is a distant memory.  Others may be joining us for the first time this year.  Be ready with a “Shana Tovah” and a welcoming smile when you see faces in the congregation you don’t recognize.  You can’t imagine how significant such a seemingly small gesture is to the person who receives it, or how it will be remembered for years to come.  

For all of us – may 5784 be a year of sweetness, good health, dreams realized, and peace. 

Shana Tovah, and Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Gutterman

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784