Walking outside during this chilly spring, the lilacs, redbud trees and dogwood blossoms, serve as signposts for the season of renewal. In Kehila Time, we’re gearing up for our 40th Anniversary Celebration – the culminating event to this year’s retreat on June 8th and 9th. In Jewish time, we’re reading from Parshat Emor, which discusses the “callings to holiness.”
The callings to holiness include the Jewish festival days, “the tools with which we ‘call forth the holiness’ of the day: eating matzah on Passover unearths the gift of freedom, sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashanah calls forth its quality of awe, and so on with all “the appointed times of G‑d” (excerpt from the Chassidic Masters). These signposts help us divide time between the everyday and the holy days. Our Kehila Sundays also serve as a special time when we can dedicate ourselves to reconnecting with each other and learning. This past Sunday (April 29th) we enjoyed a thought-provoking discussion to mark Israel’s 70th Anniversary by hearing from a panel involved in grappling with some of the complex issues that Israel faces with regard to Palestinians and peaceful solutions. This was just one of the many compelling topics presented this year courtesy of our excellent programming committee. We also had a wonderful discussion of Bar/Bat Mitzvah experiences inspired by our staged reading on April 27th at the Adult Oneg. We send a special thanks to the cast and our Director Sue Holiday.
May marks the time when we look to the coming year. Our excellent Nominating Committee will be looking to “renew” our committees and you can consider rejuvenating your Kehila experience by volunteering for a new committee. Committee work keeps Kehila running and also forges lasting bonds between members (who share the triumph of a well-attended Oneg, the agony of a too-sparse cleanup crew). So when you receive a call, please say “yes”! Because as Hillel says, “If not when” and to paraphrase, If not you, who? As a member-led community, volunteers are our lifeblood. We’ll be celebrating 40 years of great volunteers, leadership, learning and singing on Saturday June 9th. Please mark this date on your calendars and join us for the special celebration. Our excellent committee has planned a special evening that will include a look back at our history, great food, and of course superb company (that would be all of us).
Finally, part of this week’s Parshat includes the recognition that those who teach often learn crucial lessons from their students. By analogy, that’s certainly been the case for me as I’ve served as your President. You’ve helped me better appreciate the importance of clear communication, tact, and participating in celebrations and mourning. And you’ve inspired me with your dedication and commitment to our community. Because I’m dedicated to learning and I feel that I’m only now hitting my stride, I’m hoping to “renew” my contract as President for another year. I’m looking for a partner though, particularly someone from another generation who I can pass the torch to in 2019- 2020. So if you’re up for that role, please let me know. Hope to see you all at our 40th Anniversary and I’m looking forward to another year of singing, learning, and laughter.