PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – March 2023
One of the most important things I have learned in my tenure on the Board of Directors is that you never know when the next great idea will happen. Almost always it comes from a member of community during a casual conversation. One such great idea just happened during a Pizza Night before our monthly family Shabbat service.
We were munching on pizza and salad when Tracy Martin asked Rabbi Mark about doing a blessing over the animals. You could see the faces of the other pet parents at the table light up at the suggestion. Our Catholic neighbors commemorate the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi every October 4. Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of the animals, and thus it is an appropriate time for a ceremony to bless the animals.
Rabbi Mark explained that in the Jewish tradition, the time recognized for a blessing of the animals is right after the High Holidays around the time Parashat Noach, the Torah portion recounting the story of Noah, is read. He also explained that in Genesis Adonai creates the animals, then has Adam take charge of them.
As Rabbi Mark explained, after Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac, Eliezer came upon a well where a young woman, Rebecca, was drawing water. Asking for a drink of the water, the Rebecca made sure that Eliezer’s camels also had water to drink. Seeing her caring and kindness toward the animals, Eliezer knew he had found the right wife for Isaac.
We then discussed doing a blessing of the animals on a Sunday during Religious School. We even set the date: October 22. We have several months to work out the details, but now, thanks to a member of our family raising a question, Temple Beth Emet has a new activity for ourselves and to share in our greater Burbank community. As a bonus, we also had an impromptu Jewish Studies session.
You never know when the next great idea will happen, but great ideas such as holding a blessing of the animals on a Sunday at Temple only occur when we come together, and that requires that we all participate in Temple life. Sometimes an idea comes to someone fully formed, and the reaction of those gathered gives validation and momentum to the idea. Sometimes ideas required the collaboration of the group to mature. Whatever the process, when we come together at Temple to pray, to learn, to celebrate a festival, or to share a meal, there is a synergy that produces something that is greater than could be done by each of us separately.
We have all heard the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well, it takes a village to make a village as well! And it takes members of our Temple family coming together to make a vibrant and living Temple community.
— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President