The moment this photo represents means so much to me. During the adult B’nei Mitzvah service on April 15, Jeanie and I chanted the Nissim, a responsive prayer expressing gratitude for miracles in our lives. When Rabbi Koppell offered the idea to do this, we jumped on it for several reasons. We wanted to learn to do this together, we wanted to do something involving the community responsively, we specifically wanted to chant words that would connect us to communities through time, and we wanted to be an active part of the Temple Chai story.
Immediately following the Nissim, I gave my first ever D’var Torah, focusing largely on the many meaningful ways to live a Jewish life, and the importance of welcoming others’ expressions of being Jewish in their own ways. To us, building community, especially Jewish community, is a core value and central to how we express our Judaism; helping others feel welcome, seen, appreciated and understood. Engaging with others in learning and actions that make a difference.
Every time we have the chance to learn with others – during prayer lab or other services, at a Temple Chai retreat or event, or during classes, we are reminded how much richer the experience is than if we had read that same text on our own.
As we prepare for High Holy Days this year, we are still thinking about the Nissim we are grateful for – that we found each other at this stage in our lives, that we found Temple Chai, and that we are building deep friendships here. We get to decide how to live our intentionally Jewish lives. We are embracing the journey! We are so fortunate. We are so grateful.
Shana Tova U'Metukah,