The Mishnah teaches: Who is rich? The one who rejoices in their portion, as it is written (Psalm 128:2) “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.” (Pirke Avot 4:1)
The June Congregational Meeting brought new developments. At that meeting, I introduced our theme for the coming year, “Hakkarat HaTov”, recognizing the good. Jewish tradition values the mitzvah of recognizing the good, and expresses this value in many ways. The blessings that can be made for virtually everything in our lives are ways to express gratitude to the Divine for all that we receive – food, clothing, shelter, natural beauty and wonder, our bodies and their proper functioning, and more. As a community, we already have a gratitude practice on Friday nights, when we share with each other things for which we are grateful in our lives.
The mitzvah of recognizing the good is one that should be practiced as often as possible. We should be thanking each other regularly, and searching for the positive attributes and contributions of each and every person. At the congregational meeting, I recognized and thanked all present who served and contributed to our community in ways large and small. As well, we honored our teachers and outgoing Board members at services at the end of June. I will be teaching on the topic of Hakkarat Hatov during the High Holy days and throughout the year. I look forward to our continued dialogue on this topic.
Participation in committee work is on the upswing at TBE. We are looking forward to a rejuvenated Membership Committee, which will be working on nurturing existing TBE members and discovering their needs, gifts, and abilities. I look forward to hearing more from the Membership Committee as it gets organized and begins to reach out to all of us. As well, the Social Justice committee will be expanding, and will be sharing with us its enlarged vision of how we at TBE can work to make this world a better place. I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labors. Please let me know if you would like to participate in this work in any way.
Contributing to the Temple happens in many ways. It is not only making large donations or serving on the Board or committees that is helpful, it is also the many small ways that we step up, arriving early to set up the oneg or potluck, staying late to clean up, visiting someone who is ill, sending a note or email of condolences, congratulations, or wishes for healing, sharing feedback with the rabbi designed to help make TBE a better place, or making a monthly Chai to Life donation of $18.
Planning for the 2018-2019 calendar year is underway, and, when finalized, the calendar will be published in its entirety to the congregation before the start of the school year, allowing all of us to save the dates for those activities in which we wish to participate. It is important that I have your input during this period of planning. Please be in touch with me personally if you wish to share with me your ideas for any of what we do – High Holy Days, Shabbat, Jewish learning, committee work, or anything at all affecting the life of our TBE community. I will listen carefully to all of your ideas and concerns so that we can move forward together with planning our year. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you kol tuv (all the good), and a good summer until I see you again in August,
Rabbi Molly Karp