Message from Rabbi Rachael Jackson
Shana Tovah umetukah. שָׁנָׁה טוֹבָׁה!
This is a time of transition. Our seasons are transitioning from the fast-paced sum-mer to the more meandering autumn. Our congregation is transitioning with a new rabbi. Our Jewish calendar is transitioning into the High Holy Days, the yamim nora’im.
This month of September will be full of awe. We still have some time during the month of Elul to reflect on this past year. Early this month, on September 5, we will mark the start of the season with a Selichot service. The Bimah will transition from the usual red colors to the reflective white. This is such a visual cue to where we are in the calendar.
I would like to invite each of us to think about preparation. Think about all the work that went into the Mountain Jewish Festival. Think about all the work we put into celebrations. We pay attention to details such as guest lists, menus, decorations, and the like. Think about the last trip you made—reservations for car, airplane, hotels, activities scheduled, and restaurants chosen.
And now think about the High Holy Days. What preparations are we engaging in for them? Are we thinking about the guest list? Is God on it? Are we thinking about the food we bring for the break-the-fast? What about food for the soul? Are we thinking about what to wear? What about what to feel?
This is a time for t’shuva, t’filah, tzedakah—repentance, prayer, charity. We can, and ought to, prepare for each of these. T’shuva: repentance. Re-flect on who needs forgiveness—yourself, your family, your friends, your enemies, God. T’filah: prayer. Contemplate what you need to do to get ready to really be present during High Holy Day services and beyond. Tzedakah: charity. Consider who is need in the community and how we can each serve them best.
The High Holy Days are not a holiday. Rosh Hashanah is not like the secular New Year. We are given this gift and it is up to us to engage with it. I encourage us to not let perfection get in the way of the good as we go forward.
Friends, don’t be a perfectionsist.
Perfectionism is a curse, and a strain.
For you tremble les you miss the bulls-eye.
You are perfect if you let be.
Friend, don’t be afraid of mistakes.
Mistakes are not sins. Mistakes are ways of
doing something different, perhaps creatively
Friends, don’t be sorry for your mistakes.
Be proud of them. You had the courage to
give something of yourself.
[by Fritz Perls]
May this year be a year of goodness and sweetness. Shana Tovah umetukah. שָׁנָׁה טוֹבָׁה!
With many blessings for the new year,
Rabbi Rachael Jackson
We are in the season of reflection and renewal, and it seems logical that one follows the other.
As I re-flect, my reaction is, Wow! It is almost impossible to recount all that has transpired recently at Agudas Israel. For months now, a dedicated group of people have been working to make a dream become a reality. Under the leadership of Carol Leaman, Natalie Zitnick, Bonnie Cooper and Sherry Harris there was baking and cooking, ads sold, t-shirts designed, promotions sent out, signs made, volunteers enlisted, and a thousand other details handled to hold our first Mountain Jewish Festival here at Agudas Israel. We held our breaths, prayed, and hoped upon hope that people would show up. Who was going to eat all that food? Well they sure did come, 1500 of them. It was a day of hard work, joy, and celebration for the enormous effort on the part of so many people to make this inaugural event a success. I am in awe of this congregation and the communal effort put forth on its behalf. Although it seems inadequate, I can only offer my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.
With all this to be happy about, we enter the time of renewal, the time to try and get things right. As a congregational family, I believe we are in a good place. We have a wonderful new Rabbi to guide us and a membership that seems to be filled with energy and commitment. But, there is always work to be done. Let us continue to strive to assure our doors are open to all who wish to enter. Let us welcome all who enter with friendship. Let those of you who are part of our family participate in positive ways, working on projects and in committees, contributing to our continued success. Let us continue to contribute to Tikkum Olam through food drives, volunteerism, and participating in Mitzvah Day. Above all, let us continue to come together as a community, sharing our strengths, resources and blessings.
Linda Perkel, President