Rabbi Julie's August 2020 Letter to Congregation

posted Aug 2, 2020, 10:33 AM by Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir   [ updated Aug 2, 2020, 10:34 AM ]
August 2020

Dearest Chevre,

"The old will be made new and the new will be holy." 

These are the words of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel in the 20th century. Written in 1909, his words are a meditation on the challenges of his times and could not be more relevant today. As I return from a replenishing and stimulating year of Sabbatical, I am eager to join with our community in facing both the challenges and the opportunities of our first ever High Holy Days in cyberspace. Despite the losses of not being physically together during the raging pandemic of COVID-19, we will embrace adaptive change to keep us connected, to continue to deepen and extend our spirituality, and to live into Judaism in the New Year of 5781. 

Judaism has always integrated tradition and innovation. We have a long history of adapting new technology to the needs and opportunities of the times. Think about how an intimate, ancient oral tradition within a small tribe evolved into a text-based tradition engaged by people in far-flung places. Think about how Torah scrolls evolved into printed books and how many of us now access the same texts on digital devices. We are an adaptive people rooted in nourishing traditions!

Finally, this month as I return to Leyv Ha-Ir for a twenty-first year of our long term relationship, I want to make three Thank Yous. 

~ Thank you to you all, the community as a whole, that generously provided a year of Sabbatical, modeling best practices in the world of rabbinic employment. May this generosity come back to enrich the community!

~ Thank you to my very able and dear friend Rabbi Dayle Friedman who held this congregation so well through these endless early months of COVID crisis -- I cannot imagine better hands to have been guiding the community at this time.

~ Thank you to the many people who are stepping up to sustain our community in these urgent times: People taking leadership on racial justice, people taking leadership on congregational management, people making especially generous financial donations in this season, and thank you to all of you who have warmly welcomed me back.

I am so glad to be with you for this journey into the High Holy Days and beyond.

With gratitude,

Rabbi Julie