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Concentric circles of being 17-August-11

Concentric Circles of Being: Self, Family, Community

Dear Friends,

When you receive this message, I will (G-d willing) be in Mexico with Shoshana and the boys restoring my body and soul for the upcoming Jewish year. I hasten to commit these words to the page, but Rosh Hashanah and the entire High Holyday season is rapidly approaching. The month of Elul, during which we begin the process of introspection, evaluation, and repentance is right around the corner!

Here at Beth David we are busily preparing for the upcoming year. Bulletin boards are going up in the religious school wing; information about Hebrew High is being disseminated; scholar-in Residence weekends are being planned; and High Holyday services and programs are all coming together beautifully.

One of my personal foci this month has been thinking about the messages I would like to convey to our community during the holidays. This year, the overarching theme of my sermons will be “Concentric Circles of Being”. In essence, I believe this is what we evaluate during the season of repentance. We direct our attention inward to assess whether we are living up to our holy potential; we address relationships with family and friends; and finally, we review our place in community. Self, Family, Community—these are the concentric circles of being in which we all live.

This year I need your help!

As I think about the circle of community, I acknowledge that the Beth David community impacts each of us in different ways, and I am largely unaware of how Beth David has been present for you, my beloved congregants! Certainly some of you have shared your experiences with me, but now I would like to ask ALL of you to share something of your experience of community with me. Please send me an email with a short message about how the Beth David community has been present, supportive, and/or helpful to you over the years. In what ways has your belonging to our community inspired you to reach out to others? What expressions of community have been most meaningful to you? Also, let me know if you would permit me to use your story anonymously in my remarks. All you have to do is hit “reply” to this email!

Thank you in advance for sharing a story with me!

May we all embrace these final months of August and Av as a time of rest and rejuvenation, for the next months bring intense spiritual work for us all!


Rabbi Philip Ohriner