President’s Message – Mar Cheshvan 5771 – October 2010
First, Yashar koah to Rav Jeremy, Hazan Daniel, the high holiday organizing committee – Judy Stein, Sharon Brettschneider, Gaye Tuchman, and Marian Wolf, the break-the-fast committee – Marian Wolf, Marilyn Moir, Ariel Schwartz, and others, all those who led alternative activities, and many others who read special passages, assisted with the whitening of the synagogues, and placing the mazhorim in the seat pockets. Yashar koah also to the succahnators – a team led by Lex Nishball and Jim Baber, photographer and bamboo pole donating Ken Dardick, and Charlie Stoloff, who put up the succah, Gerry Berkowitz for the corn stalks for the sckach – the succah’s roofing – and to all the students and teachers who made it festive. It seemed to be a sign of divine design that the succah fits perfectly on the new deck that was designed by the Beautification Committee – Judy Stein, Jim Baber, Eric Goldberg, and others – and built by Jim, Lex, and others. And thanks to all who participated in the services during the high holidays and Succoth and Simchat Torah. Yashar koah – may your strength be increased.. Hazak hazak venit–hazek – be strong, be strong, we will make each other strong.
During October this year, we will live the eighth month of the Hebrew calendar – called Mar Heshvan – bitter Cheshvan. It is a bitter month – without holidays – when compared with Tishrei, the high holidays and harvest month. During Cheshvan, we read the stories in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) which we remember from our childhoods – the creation, the garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the tower of Babel, Noah and the flood, Abram’s leaving his homeland to become Abraham and to found new nations, the binding of Isaac, and finding a bride for his son Isaac. This last story, in the portion Chayei Sarah – the life of Sarah – which we will read on October 30th this year, is of special importance for Debbie and me for it was read at our aufruf – when we were called up for an aliyah before our wedding 25 years ago. I have a theory that once marriages were common as the month of Cheshvan waned, as the harvest season came to a close and our ancestors prepared for the winter rains. Cheshvan is a month of preparing for the year after the rains, a time of setting up a home, and of seeking warmth as the nights grow longer and colder.
I hope to see you at synagogue for fun-raising events, like the Chili Cook-Off on Sunday, Ocober 10th, being organized by chili-master Todd Friedland and others, for Noa Baum’s presentation of “A Land Twice Promised” on October 17, and at Shabbat services without the month. May you have a not so bitter, restful, and colorful Cheshvan.