Photo by Sharon L. Sobel
Every Shabbat we have an opportunity to gather together as a community, take a collective pause, refresh and renew our spirits from our everyday cares and concerns. This coming week, we have four additional opportunities to do so:
First, on Tuesday, November 21st at 7:00 pm, we will join at Temple Beth Sholom with other communities of faith for our Interfaith Thanksgiving service. We will express our thanks and gratitude for the love and respect we find in our diversity. We will celebrate with each other, honoring the distinctions among us, as well as our unity in God, as we bring to this service our different expressions of faith. This will be a moment that transcends time, like Shabbat, where politics are left outside the door and we celebrate our unity as one common community.
I hope you, your family and friends will join us for what promises to be a most beautiful, meaningful, and heartfelt service.
Second, on Thanksgiving day itself, each of us has opportunities to gather with family and friends to celebrate together. Whether your gathering is small, medium, or large, we understand how important it is to acknowledge and thank those who matter in our lives. Life is fragile. Things can change in an instant. It’s important to take this opportunity to share our appreciation with those whom we love.
Third, we invite all of you to join us the Shabbat immediately following Thanksgiving for a special “Potluck Preneg” at 6:15 pm. We invite you to bring your Thanksgiving leftovers, including dessert, or pick up something at the store, and we’ll join together for an informal potluck Shabbat dinner. This will take the place of a regular Oneg Shabbat.
Finally, we invite our college students, university students and graduate students to join us for Erev Shabbat services on Friday, November 24th, and then to join me at a local Japanese restaurant for “Sushi, Sake, and Shmooze.” We understand that life on campus has been very difficult for our college students, especially since October 7th. This is an opportunity to share, reflect, and be together. Register HERE (scroll down to “sessions for sharing and listening. Restaurant address will be emailed out upon registration and given out at the service).
As we approach these days of gratitude, community, and gathering, I offer this blessing:
As we count our blessings, and acknowledge goodness, we will
remember those who struggle, feel alone and unwelcome.
We will sow seeds of love.
We pray that the many religions and cultures of the world find
common ground. We will work to restore harmony – in our families,
schools, and communities – and supplant a world of much division,
violence and despair.
We will sow seeds of peace.
In these times of turmoil, terror and conflict, and in all places where
people are searching for righteousness and struggling for safety,
We will sow seeds of healing.
With God as our guide, we bring together peoples of diverse faiths
and beliefs, in dialogue and community building. May we transform
the barriers that divide us and from strangers become friends.
We will sow seeds of hope.
We commit to work together to break down the walls of language and
culture, race and gender, wealth and poverty, theological and political
differences that separate us and cause enmity between us,
We will build bridges.
Bridges founded on love, respect and understanding where all are
welcomed at the table. Amen.