President’s Post – September 2020

So, What’s New?

Linda Rubin

Marla Shwarts

So, what’s new? We ask ourselves and others this question all of the time especially when we meet up with one another. And during these High Holy Days as in most years, we ask this question and we stress the importance of the New Year as we prepare to celebrate and observe with our precious rituals and with our beloved Temple Beth El community. But this New Year is different, way different; it’s surrounded by a pandemic that has shaken us up and created a dependence upon technology which we have incorporated into our lifestyles beyond some of our expectations. We have neither sat alongside of our friends nor even next to some of our families in many months. We have not hugged or been hugged by our extended family members in a long time. We have not immersed ourselves in the energy of the youngest members of our community running around our synagogue. What’s new is that we are living differently and there is lots of uncertainty around us.

This all appears bleak and negative, but in reality, these times are filled with blessings. In a new way. we are waking up to each new day with intentions to stay healthy, to reach out to others, to learn some of what we never had the time to learn, to be more mindful, to garden, to walk more, to straighten out our piles of clutter at home, to bake, to read more, to cherish the minuscule, to choose our responses carefully, and to give of ourselves. We have learned the meaning and the necessity of practicing social action and we are more learned about the politics that impact us. We have new perspectives. Some of this really is what’s new.”

Our Temple Beth El Family is replete with a belief and new practices that prevail so we can stay together in heartfelt spirit no matter where we are, no matter what technological roadblocks we face, no matter how big our disappointments feel. We are surrounded by a faith and a community that encourage us to work diligently to sustain us all now during this uncertain time and even in the future.

Rabbi Cassi, Cantor Ilan, our staff members, and your lay leaders have worked hard to make this New Year not just new for the sake of our enjoyment, but new in order to bring the sanctity of our religious home into our personal homes and to make for ourselves a sanctuary. We look forward to what is new, and of course that which is old, but new this year is different and perhaps takes on a bit more importance than usual.

May these old words bring new meaning for every one of you this New Year: le shanah tovah tikatevu, May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year. Yes, may you remain healthy, may you continue to perform acts of loving kindness, and may we all continue to work toward the time when we can meet one another in person and ask, “So, what’s new?”