My wife, Nieves, and I wish each of you and your families a sweet new year - As sweet as apples ... dipped in honey.
As I sat on the Bima during our B'nai Israel Rosh Hashanah Service, I was able to observe Congregants as they entered the Sanctuary and joined the Service.
The interaction reminded me of a large family reunion. Some of the family we see weekly, others we see yearly or every few years and there are those we are meeting for the first time. We are all here because we are part of the B'nai Israel family and Rosh Hashanah is a good chance for us to get together for a reunion. I watch as people greet each other, smiling and hugging. The two daughters of one of our members decided to surprise mom by joining her for the Service. They came in and sat by mom, who did not expect to see her daughters and I will never forget the smile on her face. She was so happy to share Rosh Hashanah with her girls. Such a blessing.
There were smiles throughout the room when Mike Policar sounded the shofar. We have a great tradition with Mike sounding the shofar. He did it for the first time when he was fifteen years old, now he is sixty-two and this marks the forty-seventh year we have had this honor. The Torah teaches that the blast of the shofar emanating from the thick cloud on Mount Sinai made the Tribe of Israel tremble in awe. I did not see any trembling in our Sanctuary, instead the Congregation enjoyed and was thrilled by the sound of the shofar.
We are blessed to have Rabbi White as our spiritual leader. He led a meaningful and uplifting Service and delivered an important message. It is a pleasure to be associated with such a great man. I feel God sent an Angel to B'nai Israel. Rabbi White is an excellent source of wisdom and knowledge and he is here for us. If you are on a spiritual quest or have a thirst for Torah, we have Rabbi White.
Our Congregation began many years ago when a group of Jewish families in Vallejo rented a hall in order to celebrate the High Holidays. That gathering has grown into what we have today, Congregation B'nai Israel. It is up to us to honor those who came before us, who built and maintained our Shul by keeping it alive and passing it to the next generation. I am honored and humbled to be the President, but I need your help. It takes all of us to keep B'nai Israel alive and well. My goal is that our children and grandchildren will have B'nai Israel so they can have a place to fulfill their Spiritual needs.
When the Service ended and we entered the social hall to have a sip of wine and a bite of challah, we continued a tradition stretching over thousands of years from Moses until today. What a wonderful day.
Again, we wish you a sweet year,