EMOR, the Torah reading for this week, includes a complete list of the Israelite holiday calendar, including Shabbat, the counting of the Omer, Shavuot/the Feast of Weeks, the Day of Shofar Sounding (Rosh Hashanah), Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Sh’mini Atzeret (the conclusion of the fall holidays combined in many Reform congregations with Simchat Torah), and the New Moon. Judaism still offers us rituals and customs that enable us to engage in regularly making moments holy and special. Most of the above observances are about beginnings, in one way or another, or about “taking time out of life” to refresh and renew ourselves. Most of those celebrations brought the community together (a “holy convocation” means “being called together for a sacred purpose”). Hopefully, we still can hear that call to come together, not only in our many pursuits related to our ongoing activities, but also as members of a Jewish congregation.
The coming weeks present us with a variety of opportunities to congregate, as does every season of the year. A new month began this week; we will continue to “count up” as we enumerate the increasing days of the Omer; we will mark Israel’s 63 years; we will study, share our culture and customs with the greater community (at the Nosharama), join to make decisions for the future (at the Annual Meeting), and celebrate the last major festival of every Jewish year (Shavuot). This is how we, through the Jewish heritage and tradition, mark time. Please join us as we gather to continue to do what our ancestor did so long ago: to make moments special and sacred.
Rabbi Larry K.