President’s Post – October 2019

Tis the Season

Eric Imley & Gale Swartz, Co-Presidents

This is the time in the Jewish calendar when we take stock of where we were, where we are and where we want to be going. Many will say, us included, that this is the busiest time of the Jewish year with a time span of only twenty-three days!

Rosh HaShanah, is a time of favor, forgiveness, of growth, improvement, new beginnings. Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, or ‘at-one-ment’ is for singular focus on self-improvement. We reflect on the previous year and look forward to the year to come. We think of ways to improve ourselves, our families, our communities, and grant forgiveness to those who have wronged us and ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged.

Sukkot, the harvest festival commemorating the Israelites’ wandering the desert following the Exodus. For a whole week we eat and maybe, even sleep in a sukkah, to connect to the harvest season. While dwelling in the sukkah, we shake, shake, shake… our Lulav (and Etrog) in all directions! Finally, on Simhat Torah we celebrate the giving of the Torah and, the completion of our yearly reading cycle then starting back at the beginning again. We are truly grateful for the many hours and many sleepless nights of our clergy, staff and volunteers to make this season so meaningful. Thank you!

For the coming year of 5780, we will focus on some new themes, now that the majority of our ‘transition’ period is behind us. We will emphasize the use of kind words when we speak to each other as we continue to build upon our foundation as a warm and loving community. As Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Have you said something kind to someone today? Will you try to tomorrow? Did someone show you kindness?

The Board of Directors has made considerable progress on goals set at the annual meeting in June. The San Pedro Co-Op has started operating their preschool in our building, bringing the sounds of happy little voices resonating in our hallways. We are eagerly waiting the start of construction on the new cell tower in January, a culmination of more than 18 months of work. We have a reinvigorated Member Outreach Committee working on ways to increase visibility and membership. We have started our work on the Governance and Congregational Excellence project that we spoke about last month. Security measures have increased, with both personnel and physical enhancements. Next time you see the guard at our door or someone you do not recognize, introduce yourself, say hello and demonstrate that we can be secure and welcoming at the same time. Let us continue be a community that practices audacious hospitality, of being warm, open and inclusive and a true Beth El, a house of G-d!