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.
People are sad. Some are tired or scared or anxious. Many of us are looking for hope and recognizing that there are no easy answers.
What we do have is each other. And the opportunity to come together this Shabbat, and in the days, weeks, and months ahead, to recommit to being a congregation, a community, and a country that does not lose hope, that is dedicated to fighting fear and hate, and that will bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice.
Our next Jewish holiday falls on Tuesday, November 6.
In Judaism we believe that dina malchuta dina, that the law of a secular government still governs our lives. However, for much of Jewish history, Jews were unable to vote for their secular leaders, and could hardly imagine the privilege of being able to do so today. That historical narrative alone makes Election Day worthy of holiday status. We were in peril, and now we are free. Sound familiar?