I am excited to share that I will be in Israel this summer from June 30-July 25. I have been chosen to participate in the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative (RLI) of the Shalom Hartman Institute. The RLI is a highly selective three-year fellowship which trains a cohort of approximately 30 exceptional rabbis from across the country and denominational spectrum.
I look forward to seeing you at our congregational seder on April 15 (the Monday before Pesach begins). After rave reviews from last year, we will be partnering again with the Bethel Community Transformation Center, as together we explore the journey toward freedom and justice through ritual, reflection, story, song, and, of course, a delicious meal.
The number of children in our IADS membership family is approaching double-chai. That means that number has more than tripled in the last five years, and it continues to grow. These kids are (sometimes jumping) on the bima, and they, along with their parents, are celebrating and studying Judaism together.
We are about to enter the month of Adar, a full month in which our tradition calls on us to be happy. And this year, as we include the leap month of the Jewish calendar, two months of Adar double our required period of happiness. Oy. For some of us it can be a challenge to be happy for two full days, much less two full months. And much like our new year’s resolutions, our first few failures sometimes cause us to give up on the whole project.
There are four new years in the Jewish calendar, one of which occurs this month. The 15th of Shevat (corresponding in 2019 to Jan 20-21) is the new year for the trees, which was used to calculate tithing for their fruit. There is the 1st of Nisan, which evokes the exodus from Egypt, and is actually the "first" month of the year. There is the 1st of Elul, used to calculate tithing for cattle. And of course the 1st of Tishrei is "Rosh Hashanah," which traditionally marks the birthday of the world.