President’s Message

Rosh Hashanah was different this year. I am very engaged in the virtual service! Forgive the askew tallit!

**Below, I share my President’s Message that was given to my congregation on Erev Rosh Hashanah. It is short, and I believe the message to be true for all of our Jewish communities, as we are one family, or mishpachah. I wrote it down, so I wanted to share it here for those who could not attend, and also for the general reader.

I want to wish you all a “Shana Tovah U’Metukah, ” Or a good and sweet New Year. Thank you all for being flexible and adapting to Temple [Insert Schul/Synagogue Name] via Zoom. The past 6 or 7 months have been strange to say the least, and at times, most difficult and sad. I am beyond honored to represent the Temple as President during a time of great challenge; but I have also been able to be a part of witnessing the beauty of the true spirit of our congregation. The body of Temple [Name here] might be on “Main Street in Anonymoustown USA,” but the soul of the congregation manifests in all of you here, and also in those unable to be today. 

We have been forced to look at the world differently, but still with positivity amidst obstacles. Those who know me well know that I am an avid fan of the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and I would like to share one of his many beautiful quotes: “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” 

And amazed I have been. I have been amazed by our ability to keep Temple [Redacted Specific Name] not only alive, but thriving. Our Friday evening services are well-attended and invigorating. Our Religious School is buzzing with the constant excitement of Jewish learning, and our weekend Midrash and Torah study classes challenge and enliven our spirits. To put it frankly, Temple has never closed, nor should it ever. We have, as the Jewish people have always done, adapted. 

What has also remained unchanged is our need for your help. During these difficult times, and as we work to re-enter our building in the future we will be in need of funds for required deep-cleaning, ensuring that our Temple has proper ventilation, and a number of other costs that we never could have imagined incurring less than a year ago. Your help, as always, is not only appreciated, but needed now, perhaps more than ever. We will not stop offering, and we hope you do not either. 

Famous Medieval Torah Scholar Maimonides claims that contained within the sound of the Shofar is a personal message. It is a time to awaken from whatever respective slumbers have kept us from moving forward. The blast of the Shofar contains new beginnings. As we begin the year 5781, perhaps we should all listen to the same blast that pierced the air during the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai so many years ago. As we create new beginnings, I urge you to do so with Temple [Name Again] in mind. Like the blast of the Shofar, our goal is to continue to ring out through the generations as a center of vibrant Jewish life. We can only do so if we support one another, and our small Jewish community. 

I wish all of you and your families a sweet and happy New Year, and a meaningful Yamim Noraim. Todah rabah and thank you very much!

L’Shalom,

Joshua

Published by Joshua Gray

I am Joshua Gray. I am a husband, father, not-for-profit-worker by day, and a former professional actor/singer. I am very active in the Jewish community in my area, helping to teach at religious school on Sundays, while also serving on the board of trustees at my local temple. My relationship with Judaism is a joy of mine, and I find great pleasure in studying texts and learning more and more Hebrew. I still enjoy warbling tunes, and I even got to sing the Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur, which was a definite highlight. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas for topics, conversations, or general inquiries. Shalom!

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