From the President

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – September 2017

This month our Temple family will gather together again for the High Holidays.  For the first time we will gather at our own Temple campus.  The High Holidays is the one time of the year when all the different “tribes” of our Temple family come together.

One group will be the regulars who are often at Temple.  We come most Friday nights, we might come for Adult Education or book club or wine and cheese evenings too.  The Temple feels like home to us.  Another group will be people who put in a lot of volunteer effort at Temple.  We serve on the Board of Directors, are active in Sisterhood or Religious School Parents Association, edit the Chai Times, fix or clean things, or lend a hand whenever needed.  We not only feel at home at Temple, we feel like homeowners because homeowners know there is always something around the house that needs attention.  Yet another group consists of members who might to come to services a few times during the year, but always come on High Holidays.  Temple is familiar to us, and maybe at one time we were regulars while the kids were in religious school or when life was less hectic.  Finally, some of us either purchase High Holiday tickets yearly or are joining us for the first time.  We might have never actually set foot in 600 North Buena Vista Street.

Whatever path brings us together at the High Holidays, the important thing is that we are

together as a community.  Judaism depends on community.  It is possible, of course, to maintain one’s Jewish identity in a solitary setting, but the power of the Jewish people is in our shared experience.  It was our strength during our journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, during our sovereignty of Israel and Judea, during the Diaspora, and our emergence from the darkness of the Shoah and the founding of the modern State of Israel.

Gathering the Temple Beth Emet family during the High Holidays, we have many ways to experience community.  Not only are High Holiday services a social opportunity to reconnect with others, but there is also music, teaching, and of course, prayer and the spiritual magic of the High Holiday liturgy.

Rabbi Mark might have a problem with me saying this, but I don’t think prayer is the most important element.  (Rabbi, at least I didn’t say “teaching” was not important.)  The most important element is the gathering.  The gathering supports all the elements of the High Holiday experience.  We all come to the High Holidays from different directions, we come to the High Holidays seeking spiritual renewal by different means.

This year we will be gathering at our smaller venue.  We will be sitting a little closer together, the music, the prayers, the teaching, will all be more intimate.  That presents us with an interesting opportunity.  Instead of a “big show” in a big ballroom or soaring sanctuary, we get to stay home and show ourselves as we really are – a diverse, welcoming family that likes to get together at our cozy synagogue and enjoys being together.  In our homey, warm, haimish, unpretentious synagogue we can experience the essence of our “Temple With a Heart.”  It is the people, the community, and the love.

This High Holiday season it will be easier to take note of the people around you, to reconnect with those you know, and to introduce yourself to those you do not.  Welcome home to Temple Beth Emet!

On behalf of the Temple administration as well as my family and myself, I wish you “l’shanah tovah tikatevu,” may it be a good and sweet year for all of us.

–IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President