Message from Rabbi Rachael Jackson
Full and Fulfilling
What an incredible month it has been! I am aware that I said something similar last month and it continues to be true. I know I might inadvertently miss something because these months are full and fulfilling. Friday night services…let me just say that I do not think I could have felt more welcomed than I have been over the last few weeks. We had such beautiful music, delicious food, and fantastic participation by a great number of people. More than 125 people came out for my first service here at Agudas Israel and I was exceedingly honored. Last month we also started up Saturday morning services again, which were kicked off with your ideas. Keep a close eye on the calendar for the results of that conversation.
I have been privileged to meet with many of you individually. For those who I have not yet met personally, I extend an invitation to come by my office and say hello and share a bit of your story.
The Sisterhood fashion show, featuring Chico’s, was a marvelous event. It was sheer joy decorating flip-flops! I am sure you will hear more about it from the Sisterhood. The Brotherhood also met for an open house and I was thrilled to partake in bagels, conversation, and camaraderie. These groups do such good for our synagogue as a whole and for each one of us specifically. I hope you incorporate them into your synagogue experience.
I am sure each of us is mindful of the exciting event which will showcase Judaism and our synagogue: the Mountain Jewish Festival. This will be the perfect opportunity to engage with each other and with the greater community too. If the tidbits I have sampled on Wednesdays, when the Balabusteh bakers are busy in the kitchen, are any indication, the food is going to be divine. There will, of course, be opportunities for learning and you never know what you might pick up. It will be wonderful to see all of our members at-tend this important event for our community, for our synagogue, and for our heritage.
Last month we also commemorated Tisha B’Av. And this month of August will give us the Jewish month of Elul. Dare we mention that Elul ushers in the High Holy Days?! As we prepare for the Days of Awe, let us take a moment for reflection:
In the month of Elul, we uncover our secrets,
Examining them with a truthful heart,
Counting the pulse beats of our life,
The selfish pressures we apply and resist.
Call us to the consultation of our souls,
For You are a God of healing and mercy;
Call us to being without delay,
That Elul might draw us near to You.
[by Debbie Perlman, portion from Rosh Hodesh Elul]
I hope that August gives us the time to connect as a synagogue community and WNC community. It will give us the time to enjoy one another and summertime. It is both about reflecting and rejuvenation.
May this month be filled with blessings,
Rabbi Rachael Jackson
As July draws to a close, I am reflecting on what we have experienced as a congregation during this month. We welcomed and celebrated the arrival of Rabbi Jackson and we elected a new Board of Directors to serve the congregation. With a new Rabbi and newly elected board members, I think it is safe to say, that some changes will be on the horizon. Some of these changes may be small, some large; some may come quickly and some will occur over time. You may be thinking, our congregation is wonderful as it is, why do we have to change anything? Well, change is inevitable.
So how do we assure that Agudas Israel retains all that is good and at the same time best deal with the future? I think the answer lies in respect. It is so important that we respect each other, listen to each other’s ideas even when they differ from our own, ask questions and take our concerns directly to those who can make a difference; board members or Rabbi Jackson. Let us remember that we want Agudas Israel to not only meet our current wants and needs but we are charged with assuring the long term health of the synagogue for those who follow us.
Linda Perkel, President