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Parshat Re’eh: I have set before you a blessing and a curse… The Summer of 2023: Seeking blessing, facing challenges

08/08/2023 08:41:54 AM

Aug8

Rabbi Rudin

This week’s parsha declares that in every circumstance, we have the opportunity to wrest blessings from challenges.

In a difficult summer that saw the highest recorded temperatures in history, filled our skies with smoke and challenged us with the anxieties of uncertain times, we tried in our Kehilla (Jewish community) to create meaningful moments of connection, blessing and healing. Here are some highlights:

During the most intense heat wave and air quality alerts, our membership committee and clergy was in touch with our most vulnerable members checking in on them and making sure they were protected and offering resources.

We celebrated summer Shabbat evenings with musical offerings, claiming Shabbat as an “island in time” and a space of peace and spiritual refreshment. Thank you to our musicians:

Steven Kohn, Andy Silbert, Alan Koenigsberg, Sue Silbert, Karen Kamentsky and Faye Fishman (performing this Friday night on the Celtic Harp!)

Celebrating the installation of our new Board of Directors over Kabbalat Shabbat and taking some time to simply enjoy good company on a summer evening.

Our first-ever observance of LGBTQ+ Pride Month with a speaker, discussion and celebration of Jewish inclusion and rainbow colored Challah!

Wishing a bon voyage to our Israel travelers with the MetroWest Centennial mission and celebrating one hundred years of the Greater MetroWest New Jersey Jewish Federation and our partnership with Israel.

Family fun and nostalgia with snack cake Shabbat celebrating the beginning of summer vacation and Jewish camping.

We spoke with our community Shlicha, Tamar Reshef about the meaning of the turmoil in Israel over judicial reform to seek to understand and support.

The Parsippany Interfaith Council, an organization founded by Rabbi Rudin and four other faith community leaders, held its first ever interfaith picnic where members of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities broke bread/bagels/pita/samosas together and had a great afternoon of schmoozing and playing.

We celebrated our first-ever Lech L’cha Shabbat cherishing our incoming college freshmen in a moving moment recalling and celebrating our teens growing up at Adath Shalom from pre-K to the present with a very special blessing circle and presentation of Mezuzot for their dorm rooms.

Widening the circle of the Raoul Wallenberg Commemoration highlighting the heroism and courage of the great, lost rescuer of a hundred thousand innocents. Other faith leaders, elected officials and county agencies as well as the Swedish consulate’s cultural attaché and members of Wasa, the Swedish-American fraternal organization gathered to share Raoul’s incredible legacy. We and other civic organizations made a commitment to renew the work of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation identifying and giving scholarships to high school students exemplifying standing up for the other.

We also continued the work of our members in supplying backpacks to underprivileged children, making lunches and providing support to agencies in Israel and locally.

This summer has been a reminder of how much Tikkun HaOlam, world repair, is needed. The Mishna tells us that the day is short and the work is great. “You are not required to complete the work, but neither should you desist from it.” I believe that by being a member of our shul, of Adath Shalom, creating a dynamic spiritual home and a home base for meaningful action, we strengthen each other and empower each other in embodying and fulfilling G-d’s promise to and demand of the Jewish people: to be a blessing.

As the summer begins to draw to a close, we look ahead to a new year and a new beginning with new challenges and new blessings to be wrested from them - as long as we face them together.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784