A Year We Could Not Predict
We simply could not have predicted the circumstances of this past year+. As we enter into a new year, our predictions become even more tenuous. Being written into the Book of Life acknowledging who shall live and who shall die has become ever so more meaningful to us these days as we join together not just to worship during the upcoming High Holy Days, but to unite in a common battle against a common plague, the coronavirus and its variants. We know every day matters and we know the value of one another and our bonds to Temple Beth El, but we never ever thought our relationships would be this fragile as we are inundated by this horrific virus.
We surely did not plan for this plague, but together we certainly have responded to it as individuals, as a community, and as a Jewish people. We have sheltered from one another as needed, we have been vaccinated as possible, and we have been diligent about maintaining our relationships as we moved forward in tragic moments, in joyful times, and within medical guidelines that consistently change with discoveries and evidenced-based science.
Blessings and curses surely describe our past year, and no doubt will describe this new year. Our abilities to respond to this reality will afford us the opportunity to practice our Jewish values, do what is best for humankind beyond what is best for each of us, and treasure the importance of our spiritual home and the families we know and those we will seek to know. No doubt our faith will continue to be tested and it will be within the personal power of each of us to step up and sacrifice a little, share the laughter and tears, and support one another no matter the challenge.
Clearly, this worldwide pandemic year has brought out the best and the worst in people, and we know this first-hand. Our lives have been turned upside down in many ways and our search to mitigate events around us have been a real challenge to which we have had to become a better people, a more thoughtful people, and a more generous people. Maybe this past year has been the learning experience we needed to make us a kinder, a more understanding, a more forgiving, and a more open-hearted congregation.
Le-shanah tovah tikatevu – May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year. We say these words to all of you every year, but this year especially, we speak them from our hearts to your hearts with more intention than ever before surrounded in love and gratitude and kavanah – personal inspiration.