From the Rabbi

Rabbi Mark

“To continue boldly going where no one else’s Temple has gone …even to home” (apologies to Star Trek)

In a few days we will have our first in house Shabbat Service in over a year. It will be fantastic to be together again. So much better than cyber love. Because the pandemic is not completely eradicated there will be some restrictions. Friends who love Temple Beth Emet have worked very hard to get us ready and make for the comfortable home our “house of Truth’ has always been. The rules will be listed elsewhere in this Chai Times.

  Later on in the month is Shavuoth, the holiday of the giving of the Ten Commandments literally and extended to the entire Torah in Orthodox circles. Shavuoth literally means “weeks“ because this holiday comes 7 weeks after Passover. Shavuah, the singular of Shavuoth is the Hebrew word for 7, the days of the week. Seven, as in the days of Creation, is the symbolic number for creation. So the Festival of Weeks actually means 7 creations. The concept of creation brings us to the question, what have we created? In the ancient Temple on Shavuoth First Fruits of animal and vegetable were brought to the Temple for the congregation to see as evidences of creation.

We, can look at what our first fruits for this year of quarantine have brought. For sure, we as a congregation, have greater computer knowledge or at least Zoom knowledge. But more importantly we have a greater knowledge of who we are as people, as Jews and as Americans. We know we can work together and support each other. . We know we can do creative things. We bring both different ideas and ideologies together.

I really hope, that we continue to enjoy Lunch With the Rabbi, I know I do! The teachers have created a bond with the students that has borne the fruit of great knowledge of Hebrew and Jewish History as well as the delicious taste and flavor of teacher student rapport. Out of our enrollment of almost 30 students only two students left due to Zoom boredom. Our teachers made the program, interesting and fun for them. The created fruit, for me personally, was my greater respect for what our students go through as they prepare for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Their commitment to their Judaism is very strongly evidenced by how hard they practice and want to be a part of the planning of their ceremonies. Questions, questions, questions! Students, always remember! the ONLY dumb question is the one that’s not asked!

But the most important creation of this pandemic year has been the ripe fruit of volunteerism on the part of our congregants, both for the congregation and to other need groups. We planted a multi-talented musical, audio, video crop at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that led us to a bumper crop of attendance at Hanukkah and Purim. Our Shabbat Services on Zoom and You Tube have help to flower into great views from people in other states. Instead of leaving the Judaic ground fallow as did some houses of worship we made sure our Temple blossomed and left the heady fragrance of commitment to our congregation, country and our people, fertile and vibrant. The seeds continue to bear fruit and are a nourishment to all. May that nourishment continue to energize and stimulate as pure organic food always does when it is replanted in our sanctuary!

B’ahava and Hag Sameach,

Rabbi Mark

P.S. Shavuoth Yizkor on Tuesday May 18 at HOME at 5PM