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169http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2013/11/RabbiLyonsBlog-11_08_2013
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 11_08_2013
11/07/2013 07:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
November 8, 2013

 

It’s coming. Thanksgivakkuh! Don’t look for it at the Galleria. It’s not in stores. It’s coming to your house and mine. Not since the late 19th century and not for another 70,000 years will Thanksgiving and Chanukah (Hanukkah) converge again. This year, on Wednesday evening, November 27th, we’ll light the first Chanukah candle, and on Thursday, we’ll serve the turkey.

                The good news is that visiting relatives can share both holidays with you. You can light the menorah, eat turkey dinner and open presents. The next day, on Friday night, November 29th, Congregation Beth Israel will celebrate “Thanksgivakkuh” with a magnificent, bright, and festive Shabbat Chanukah service. Special songs, lights and surprises will make this Thanksgivakkuh one to remember for another 69,999 years.

                The bad news is that December will be dark. No lights, no menorah, and no presents. What will Jewish families do in December? Wait, another miracle!

                Mark your calendar for December 6th, at 6:30pm in the sanctuary. The entire congregation will gather for the official beginning of Beth Israel’s 160th Anniversary. This 160th year is our invitation to “Be a Blessing” in all the ways we answer the question, “What will you do to ensure that your family name will always be associated with Torah and the mitzvah to secure the Jewish future?”

                This is the question I’ve been asking since the recent publication of the Pew Report on Jewish population. The report raises many issues not the least of which is who will be the stewards of our Jewish future. We say that our children are our Jewish future, but the report concludes that we aren’t preparing our children’s hands and hearts to grasp the responsibility. The report leads to the conclusion that we have to do better in order to avoid the downward trends of weakening Jewish identity and peoplehood. There is no immediate answer and whatever answer does materialize it won’t be one-size-fits-all. Yet, I believe there is one necessary starting point from which we can all begin. Since the beginning of our people’s story, Torah has been at the center of our worldview, our deeds and our hope. So, it’s not a rhetorical question when I ask, “What will you do to ensure that your family name will always be associated with Torah and the mitzvah to secure the Jewish future?”

                On December 6th, at 6:30pm in the sanctuary, we will launch Beth Israel’s 160th Anniversary. Cantor Mutlu is arranging magnificent music to lift the mood to new heights for our anniversary year. The worship experience and Shabbat message will speak to all of us about the ways that we can be a blessing to each other in our congregational family. Torah is at the center. From it flows our people’s stories and from them our ethics, values and outlook. I look forward to explaining the unique elements of a Torah and bringing all of us closer to its place in our congregation, our homes and our life.

                Your role is to stand with your family in the congregation, not just parents, but grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends. Only standing together can you feel the unity that Torah compels us to nurture and from it draw strength. “Be a Blessing” is the beginning of our anniversary and also our future, together. Look for more information and mark your calendars now for this unique holiday season and the start of our 160th Anniversary year! Shabbat Shalom.

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