November/December 2018 – Cheshvan/Kislev/Tevet
By Andy Purvin
The Shofar has blown. The “Book of Life” is closed for last year, but find I am still obsessed by days past. I’m thinking a lot more about legacies these days. It’s probably from a combination of my respect for presidents past, my presidential part in the future of MCJC, and one of my sons being cast in “The Christmas Carol,” with its references to “Ghosts of Christmas Past.”
In my Yom Kippur speech, I talked about appreciating what the past has done so the future can thrive. I realized then that a legacy is important only as long as there is someone to recognize it. The legacy of those, from the earliest days of our community, is the community itself. But that legacy, that sense of community, is only important if we make use of it. And if we make use of it, don’t we have a responsibility to respect that history?
So I’d like to ask you to consider two very important things. First, as a way of recognizing community, when you walk through the foyer and into the sanctuary, look at the Yahrzeit board and our Tree of Life. Make sure to look at the plaques on the wall. Look at those names and remember that these people left us something very special. In many cases, there might not be anyone in our community any longer who has a direct or personal connection to them, which
makes it even more of a Mitzvah to take a moment to recognize their contribution.
Second, as we near the end of the secular year, think about what you can do to continue the legacy. I noticed after High Holiday services, there were several unopened donation envelopes. Again I’m reminded of the people on the wall and the time, effort, and money that they invested to make MCJC the place that it is today. As we come to the Thanksgiving season, when you go around the table and think of what you are thankful for, please remember to be thankful for MCJC in your life.
In the upcoming months we will be revisiting a Leaf & Boulder Campaign for our Tree of Life, and a year end “Un-Tax” donation in an effort to both keep our current programs relevant to our Jewish lives and hopefully create new, inspiring initiatives to challenge future generations.
Lastly, in deference to legacies past, I was looking on the internet for inspiration for this column, and I found a tidbit from our previous Rabbi (see the poem below).
To all of you, have a great Thanksgiving and remember, Hanukkah is coming ‘round the corner with a return to the legacy of our Annual Hanukkah Party.
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Thanksgiving Prayer by Rabbi Maralee Gordon
In this moment, mindful of our many blessings,
May we form an intent to carry gratitude with us continually.
May we leave fear and jealousy by the wayside,
Making room in our hearts for contentment, satisfaction, and compassion.
May we start each day counting our blessings:
The blessing of being alive,
The many miracles of the living world we are one with,
The ability we possess to love and to be loved,
The many gifts and talents we have been graced with,
The support we receive, And the support we are able to extend.
May our gratitude lead to action.
May we express our gratitude.
May we smile when we encounter each other on the path.
May we seek opportunities to share our talents with others.
May we express our love to one another.
May we give with no expectation of receiving.
May we seek to repair what is broken.
May we end each day counting the day’s blessings,
Those we have received and those we have bestowed.
May we be a blessing.