Welcoming 5783

by John Lewsen, August 31, 2022

As I recently contemplated the upcoming New Year, I thought about how in the past I have valued quiet time at the start of High Holy Day services reflecting on the opening messages contained in the liturgy. These are beautifully communicated in the Introduction to Gates of Repentance* and include references to how:

“At this season we turn from the ordinary ways to contemplate extraordinary issues, to ponder large — and largely unanswerable questions…

Measuring ourselves against our ideals during this season, we are moved to express regret for past errors and to reaffirm our aspirations for the future….

This is the season of self-judgment, of struggle, of inward turning, the season when a whole people labors heroically to remake itself….

To the extent that our effort is honest and undeceived, constant and undespairing, we gain strength, though it comes in small, undramatic, perhaps unnoticed accretions… and,

One confronts this season, its stern demand, its awesome potentialities, with trepidation.”

I know many of us are feeling that sense of trepidation as we process the fallout from the pandemic and other troubling events and emerging global threats that we all read and hear about in the media. My hope and wish are that as individuals and congregation of Solelniks, this annual time for self-reflection, renewal, and reaffirmation of our aspirations for the future will help us find ways of changing, adapting and moving forward. And may this traditional period of self-reflection help us start the year with a strong understanding of how we can meaningfully commit to Tikkun-Olam both as individuals and as members of a respected and important Reform Jewish community in the Western GTA.

I also hope that sooner rather than later, each one of us will have good reason to feel comfortable and safe mingling together at Solel, so that once again we can feel that warm glow of friendship and community that we have all missed.

May the year 5783 be a sweet and fulfilling year for all our members and their families. Don’t forget the apples and honey … and I am looking forward to seeing and greeting you at services.

L’Shanah Tovah Umetukah.


(*) Gates of Repentance, The New Union Prayerbook for the Days of Awe, Central Conference of American Rabbis 5738, New York 1978 pix

Filed under: President's Message

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