Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Divrei HaRav -- Words from Weisman -- October 2010

Divrei HaRav -- Words From Weisman

With the arrival of October, we can put the High Holy Days in our rear view mirror, and get onto the business of the rest of our Jewish year! There are an incredible number of people and groups of people to whom we owe thanks for our ability as a congregational family to have started our Religious school and New Year 5771 so strongly, and we will do so, under separate title, at the end of my column!

It turns out that we were not the only congregation that spent a good amount of time during these High Holy Days talking about the core Jewish values that organize and make sense of our lives as individuals and as a community. As I shared in my remarks on Yom Kippur, many other colleagues and congregations went down similar paths at this season of introspection, atonement seeking and forgiveness, and pledging to improve ourselves in the coming year. Clearly, a greater awareness of, and recommitment to, our core Jewish values has a tremendous value in such efforts!

I asked on Rosh Hashanah that we all take a copy of our congregational Mission and Vision statement, and refamiliarize ourselves with it – both to better try to live up to its expectations, and to be able to use it as a starting point for our congregational discussions on what it is that we stand on and for. My remarks on Yom Kippur took us through some earlier efforts to do the same for the Jewish community, and to focus us on an expanded model of what I believe we already stand for as a congregational family.

The texts, diagrams and details of those remarks are available on our congregational website (www.templesolelmd.org – along with that Mission and Vision Statement that many of you did not pick up off the table at services!) – a great resource not just for the calendar of upcoming events, and the online copy of Temple Topics, but for Jewish related current events, links to Jewish programs in our area, and so much more. They are, or soon will be, available as well on the Temple Solel Facebook Page, and on my personal blog (www.wordsfromaweisman.blogsite.com), which also links to news on Israel and a variety of Jewish subjects, along with a couple of other lighter blogs, dealing with local traffic matters, music, and sports, written by some very colorful “friends” of mine!). These on-line sites, along with our weekly congregational e-mail, give us unprecedented ability not only to send out information, but to share thoughts and ideas with each other in nearly instant time.

This communication and sharing of ideas in multiple directions is an essential element of turning the more finely tuned values statement about our congregation into reality in our lives. As a member commented to me in response to one of my sermons on the holidays, “Vision without action is wishing.” Merely sharpening the focus of the Jewish values in our mission statement cannot be the end of the exercise – it is merely the roadmap by which our actions in the coming year will bear the most success. And it is by those actions, and their success, that we will judge ourselves and be judged by others.

The same is true for these High Holy Days now ended. It is all too easy to get so overwhelmed by their fast pace and rapid succession, that it burns us out for days or weeks following, or even for longer. However, for this season of Atonement, and start of 5771 to truly bear fruit, we must work to make it the beginning of our efforts for the entire year, not its climactic moment before the year even gets going!

And so, I repeat my invitation to all of us – let us make 5771 the year we rededicate our congregational life and our own lives, to living by the core Jewish values with which we, and the generations before us were raised. Let us make 5771 the year we ACT on those values to improve life for ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors, indeed, for our entire congregational family, our larger community, and our world!

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