Cantor’s Column – January 2019

MiDor L’Dor – From Generation to Generation

Cantor Ilan Davidson

Have you had the opportunity to see the new “Mary Poppins Returns”? What an amazing analogy on life, and on the life of our temple community. Whenever things begin to feel in disarray, we sometimes need a reminder of where we’ve been, of our passions, of our childhood, and of recommitting to our family. That’s the lesson of Mary Poppins in a nutshell, but not quite what struck me the most about this film and how it ties in to our temple family.

Change happens, but how we approach change is truly the gift of our people. So let “Cantor Poppins” help you see the gifts of our community and family, as it correlates to this wonderful film. One of the most obvious updates to this film is a new cast of characters who still relate to the original. Like this, we are ever changing and growing. New faces will join us, with new emphases of interest – just like the chimney sweep who is now a lamplighter. So too will we have new ideas and leaders coming forward, but just like the lamplighter once connected to the chimney sweep and Mary Poppins who never ages, so too must we learn from our past and hold onto the characteristics that make us great, while building upon them to reach the future.

Along with the changes in the film, there were great stable throwbacks to the original film and other stars of its time, in Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury’s more than 180 years of life and legacy. These stalwarts of Disney film bring with them a comfort, rather than a sense of replacement; the blessings of the past on the movement toward the future. As we look to our builders for guidance and blessing at Temple Beth El, we are constantly reminded that change is a gift, and time to experience the changes is a blessing in life.

Finally, I was struck throughout the film by the melodic references in the soundtrack back to the great days of the Sherman Brothers. Yes, the songs are all new, but these comfortable reminders of the original soundtrack brought a sense of historic tradition that somehow feels like grandpa’s over-stuffed easy chair. Our traditions must always be a part of our future. New liturgical melodies will become part of the very fabric of our community, but the traditional nussah will never be replaced, and will always spark the memories of our traditions.

2019 will be another year of transition and change. Together, we will embrace it, support it, and be challenged by it. But we will also continue to be the historians, supporting the traditions that make Temple Beth El the great, holy, and special community that welcomes newness. May we never forget where we’ve been, always cherish where we are, and as it says at the end of the movie, remember that together we can only move upward, cherishing our TBE family, and looking to the future together.