Looking Ahead Together

By Rabbi David A. Lipper

It is humbling to pen a High Holy Day message to a congregation that I have yet to meet. Creating spiritual movement for a community is a daunting task. I look forward to the opportunities that this year of “Return and Renewal” affords us. Dora and I are excited to be here at this moment and we are grateful for the welcome we have already received.

As we were driving across the country to join this amazing congregation, I read about this plant. Fate must have been smiling on me. The “Socratia Exorhiza” palm is found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. This interesting palm has the common name, “Walking Palm.” It grows naturally, where light is at a premium. If a space in the canopy opens up on one side of the tree, it puts out extra stilt roots on that side, and when they are established, it lets those on the other side die off, thus physically moving the tree a small distance towards the extra light. It is unique because it moves from one place to another, until it reaches more sunny places. While we imagine a tree growing in place, this palm can move a distance of 60 feet a year. Isn’t that amazing?

I love this story. While we moved more than 60 feet (North Carolina to California), our search for the sun brought us together. But more importantly, this tree shows us all that movement is possible. We can take the necessary steps forward to make our TBS commu- nity reflect our values, hopes and dreams for our Jewish future. I have been repeatedly impressed by the care and concern that is felt toward TBS. The history of membership and the continuity of leadership, coupled with new engaged leadership, show the magic of TBS. Maybe that is the “secret sauce” of our community.

As 5782 unfolds in a few weeks, I hope that we will continue to share, grow, and innovate in ways that will make this year exciting and energizing. Please join me for one of the many opportunities for group engagement or just reach out and meet me for coffee. Like the walking palm above, we have to help each other to lean toward the light.

Dora and I are overjoyed to be here and to be a part of Temple Beth Sholom. Working with this amazing staff team is a real mechiyah. Its wonderful history, its continuity of leadership, its beautiful sanctuary and grounds all add up, for us, as the right place to be. We are hopeful for the future and committed to help make this congregation a bright light amongst the stars.

We wish you a healthy and sweet New Year. L’Shanah Tovah Ticateivu,
Rabbi David A. Lipper

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