Hopefully you enjoyed the Days of Awe with our new mahzor (prayer book) that we introduced, thanks in large measure to an amazing anonymous donation augmented by some wonderful dedicated members.
Surprisingly and delightfully another anonymous gift has enabled us to acquire the companion to the new mahzor, Siddur Lev Shalem, published this year, and introduced in the mid-November Shabbat services.
Apart from the joy of having a wonderful and engaging new prayer book to accompany us each Shabbat, with its ample transliteration of much of the service and the inspiring commentaries and translations, this new Siddur comes at a perfect time in terms of enriching community time together. For those of us who are shaken by what happened with the presidential election, one important antidote is the value of having each other to turn to in contexts such as Shabbat, especially with a prayer book that allows the experience to be uplifting and inspiring.
I thought it was ironic that the first Shabbat morning service in which we welcomed the new siddur, we lacked the usual minyan that we typically enjoy. My hope is that in the future more of you will find your way to shul on Shabbat evening and or morning, especially because of the enhanced experience that awaits our sharing.
Moreover, with the new Siddur in hand, we are now assured of even deeper quality time together in a context of exploring Judaism’s breadth and depth of values of caring and connection for all of us to nurture one another and to bring that commitment of connectivity outside the sanctuary. The more frazzled conditions are in the outside world, having opportunities and infrastructure to be together, with such a valuable resource in hand, is a blessing we should not squander.
On one hand, we are fortunate to share in such a community that is dedicated to nurturing and building on foundations that can assure we will be here for each other no matter what happens in the larger world. On the other hand, the structure of our community provides the framework for each of us to provide for such basic needs as honoring dear ones that have died with reciting Kaddish, which can only be done in community, a minimum of 10 Jewish adults gathered together for prayer, reflection and deepening commitment to do our part to see that good prevails in our world.
It was unfortunate that at the Friday service, some members came specifically to say Kaddish on the occasion of Yahrzeit for her mother, but falling short of the minyan, we were unable to provide for that need. Hopefully the new Siddur will inspire folks that do not have Shabbat at shul in their schedules to reconsider that and join in this newly reenergized time together (always accompanied by delicious and delectable taste treats that participants contribute for Kiddush!).
With the new Siddur, we are now introducing new melodies made possible by the broad degree of transliteration throughout the service.
Between new melodies, new readings and lots of food for thought (as well as for eating afterward!), and compounded by the alarming times we are in, this is a perfect time to tap into your community and make CBI so much stronger and more meaningful for you and for us all.
I look forward to seeing you on those Shabbatot that I am present, and I know our wonderful crew of lay leaders, featuring Linda Chene leading on Friday evenings and Martin Gewing on Saturday mornings, will enjoy seeing you, as well.
May we go from strength to strength, with gratitude for anonymous donors and to all of you that make life at B’nai Israel special in so many ways.