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Ending and Beginnings

It is with great excitement and anticipation that I write this note to you. As I am winding down and bringing closure to 13 fulfilling years at Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel, I am looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my rabbinate serving Congregation Beth David. I am eager to meet you, for us to get to know one another, and for us to be in community together.

Endings and beginnings are rarely neat and tidy, but they tend to go hand in hand. I will have a lot of learning to do, and I know that I can depend on each of you to introduce me to life at Congregation Beth David and in the Silicon Valley. I look forward to continuing the work and the culture that Rabbi Ohriner and Rabbi Pressman have helped to establish, and I also look forward to being in partnership with you, as we forge a meaningful, spiritual, Jewish path into the future.

One of my favorite messages comes from our daily liturgy. Each morning, before the Shema, we say “u’v’tuvo m’chadesh b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh v’reisheet – Day after day in God’s goodness God renews creation.” I love this idea, because if we believe that we are created in God’s image, and if God renews creation every day, it follows that we also have the ability to renew and to create. Every day, we have the potential to reinvigorate parts of ourselves, to set new intentions, to right wrongs, and to strive to do better than yesterday.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches something similar: “The world is new to us every morning – this is God’s gift; and every person should believe s/he is reborn each day.” These words feel especially poignant on the brink of a big change. As Danny and I pack up our home and offices, and prepare to move across the country, we truly feel as though we are about to enter a new world. We are energized by the upcoming change and appreciate the opportunity it offers for growth and renewal, even while acknowledging the challenges that we will surely face.

The morning liturgy is a powerful reminder that the world is fresh for us to discover and rediscover every day, and that we can discover and rediscover ourselves every day as well. Regardless of whether you are experiencing a big life change or simply waking up in the morning open to new possibilities, this prayer teaches us that we have the capacity to change – to create and re-create ourselves, our community, and our world.

As we get to know each other, I am confident that we will be able to build upon Congregation Beth David’s many strengths through study, discussion, prayer, and acts of loving kindness. As a community, we will continue to discover and to create meaningful Jewish experiences that will enhance our lives and reflect God’s goodness.