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Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/2/2024

01/02/2024 12:48:39 PM

Jan2

This week we enter into the new (secular) year 2024. While it is not within the spiritual rhythm of our Jewish calendar, it does provide a time to consider what will happen in the year to come, and how we can impact the coming year for good. Coming off a difficult 2023 with the threats to democracy in our own country and the horrific violence impacting our Jewish brethren in Israel as well as innocent Palestinian civilians, I am thinking about what our role is in all this as a spiritual community, and what my role is, being in the honored position of rabbi in our community.

I see a couple of paths to pursue needed change. One is the need to create and expand community, both internally and externally. Internally, we at Kol Ami continue to build our community as a welcoming place for anyone who is somewhere along a Jewish journey, and those supporting someone on that Jewish journey. As we continue our project of “Radical Inclusion” — of welcoming all those who may not have been made to feel welcome elsewhere — and with establishing the position of director of engagement (we are excited that Julia Patterson will fill that role), we look to connect more people to our supportive and caring Jewish community, and create new energy for greater involvement with Kol Ami. This is to say we are not merely looking at quantitative growth (more people in our community) but also qualitative growth — creating new energy for a different kind of Jewish communal experience that meets the needs of Jews of all demographics in this year of 2024.

Externally, it means to always look for ways to connect to communities outside our Jewish community. This includes communities with whom we have strong disagreement or with whom we are experiencing tension. We cannot realize the change we seek by going it alone.

Finally, in this all-important election year of 2024 when, at least during my lifetime, the threat to our democracy has never been greater, we must be involved in the political process. We must be advocates, fighting for the preservation of our democratic ideals and supporting those running for office who speak forcefully, without hesitation, against the wave of authoritarian idealism that is infecting our country.

And we must VOTE. Make sure you are registered to vote, and make sure friends and family are registered to vote and get to the polls on Election Day. Voting is our right, it is our blessing in a democracy and, as Jews, it is our obligation.

May this year of 2024 be one of positive change, of honoring the humanity and dignity of all, and be the year when future generations say we saved our democracy.

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784