President’s message – February 2011 –Shevat-Adar I 5771
I have tried to write these messages in the future tense, about future events. But the memories of January need some reflection. During the weekend of January 7-9, the tragic events in Tucson eerily coincided with the passing of Debbie Friedman, a leading voice for many people who connect their social perspectives with modern American Jewish life. During the same weekend, the Bnai Brith Youth Organization group of Eastern Connecticut had a sleep-over at the Casey’s home. Highlights of this milestone meeting for the group were their assistance in preparing sandwiches for the No Freeze shelter, with our Tikun Olam group, that Saturday evening, the presences of both the BBG (girl association) regional president and the AZA (boy) regional president, the choice of a name for the group – Mishpacha (family), and the singing of a healing prayer for Debbie Friedman at havdalah. There were 17 teen-agers sleeping over at the Casey’s with little problems. Barbara Casey should be a nominee for a holiness (kodesh) award for her supervision of the event. Yasher Koach: May You Have Strength!, Barbara.
During the following weekend, January 14-15, our plans to celebrate our liberation from Egypt and the songs of the sea and of Deborah on Shabbat Shirah (the Sabbath of Song) were enhanced by the songs of Debbie Friedman, brought to us by our Bat Kol (Daughter of Voice) group – this time in the form of Annette Shapiro, Merle Potchinsky, Barbara Casey, and Judy Stein. Sue-Ellen Kirkham and Rav Jeremy introduced us to a chant by Rabbi Sheva Gold. And we remembered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s influence on our national redemption by reading parts of the “I have a dream” speech.
When we look back at January 2011, many of us will also remember snow storms. There are few references to winter in our Bible. Winter is seen as just part of the natural order of the world, as described at the close of the Noah story, as a divine promise that
As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night, shall never again cease [to exist]. (Genesis 8:22).
Our community remembered that spring is on its way through our celebration of Tb Shevat, Jewish Arbor Day, on January 19. During this year, a Jewish leap year, Passover will be nearly a month after the start of spring, a real spring holiday. Purim, which is most often about a month after Tb Shevat, will arrive two months away this year.
If you find winter too long, please plan to join our congregation on Saturday, March 5 (special Shabbath Shekalim) for a celebration of all those who have managed our shekels, our kemah – flour, our treasurers and financial secretaries. Or come to any service, adult education session, participate in our Tikun Olam committee and repair the world, join the ritual committee, or suggest a fun activity to add warmth to your winter. The darkness of winter, the sadness of January, will soon pass and spring will be here soon. Stay well and warm.