October to December 2016
Over the past several weeks, as I have been recuperating from surgery, I have been reminded of how wonderful it is that we form not only a congregation…not only a temple, but also a “Kehilla”, a community.
Let me first say that this ‘visit” to the hospital and to that community came as a total surprise. The surgeon and other doctors were terrific. The nursing staff was most attentive. As you are probably aware, one does not go to the hospital to rest! So, now, as I write this, it is toward the last days of August and I am, indeed, resting and feeling stronger each day. I hope to be back, at full capacity, very soon. We have a full and ambitious fall planned and I look forward to having you being a part of it.
I mention all of this to you as a kind of backdrop for the real motivation for writing this. It was your thoughtfulness…your caring…your kind words and concern that moved me. It’ll be nearly impossible to adequately and personally thank you for your good wishes. However, please know that you helped me tremendously.
Often times, when Rabbi Bitran and I visit the ill in the hospital or Jewish Home, it is sometimes easy to underestimate how our visits can help the psyche of one who is confined due to an illness or accident. Through my recent “journey”, I have been reminded never to take lightly the good all of us can perform by reaching out to those in need.
And now it is time to turn our attention to the High Holydays, Sukkot, Simhat Torah, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Each in their very own and unique way, these major holidays focus on the full gamut of Jewish, indeed human, emotions and experiences. As we have begun the offering of selihot, the penitential prayers of the season, we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Birthday of the World, in Rosh HaShanah. We ask for forgiveness and to be sealed in the Book of Life, which is then followed by our focusing our attention on the Sukkah, the quintessential symbol of our frailty. The Jewish holiday season ends and begins with Simhat Torah to celebrate the new cycle of Torah portions. I hope you join with me in appreciating the richness and the in-depth thematic material in this season of the year. May the new year bring you and yours a spiritual renewal and a renewed sense of community.
Shana Tovah !!
Hazzan Martin Leubitz