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Shabbat to Shabbat: We Are Thankful

05/24/2017 04:50:34 PM


Rabbi Bradley G. Levenberg

As a thought to help frame this Shabbat, a Shabbat that for many of us marks the end of a school year, I wanted to share my closing benediction from our most recent Temple Sinai Annual Meeting. A charming and warm session, I was privileged to deliver these words at the meetings close:

We have come once again to that sacred time on the Jewish calendar where it is appropriate to take stock of the many blessings in our lives and to offer our thanksgiving to God. During this period known as the counting of the Omer, one contemporary practice has been to offer one blessing, to reflect upon one element of our lives each day that is worthy of acknowledgement. To pause from the business of May and to reflect what is truly worthy of note.

When reflecting upon the blessing for this particular day I realized how apparent it is that we as a congregation have much for which we should be thankful. We are thankful for our successes. For our amazing cohort of new members to our activism to our presence at communal functions to our members who are leading and steering communal agencies to our programs that have been the focal point of new relationships with each other, with our synagogue, with our God.

We are thankful for our lay leadership, for our Board of Trustees, for our chairs of committees, for our volunteers, for our committee members, for our task force members, for those who gave up a lunch or a dinner or missed a game or a gathering with family or friends to help out at Sinai.

We are thankful for our staff, some of whom are now seasoned veterans, some of whom are still new faces to our Sinai community, some of whom are moving on to a different part of their life’s journey. 

We are thankful for our engaged community who have so contributed to our vision, to our mission; to sustaining our future and participating in our present.

We count our blessings that we had much joy since our last annual meeting- some of us got married, some had children, some had children who became Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Some of us assembled here became grandparents for the first, second, third, or more time. Some of us found new employment and some of us retired. 

We count our blessings that the tragic events that touched our lives were made a bit more manageable because of the presence of community. Some of us lost parents or spouses or children or grandchildren; some of us received trying diagnosis and some of us had, or soon will have, difficult surgeries. Some of us found marriages end and some of us struggled to see the blessings of daily living. But we are thankful, O God, what when we needed them most, we were blessed to never walk darkened paths in solitude. 

Indeed, on this 40th day of the counting of the Omer, we acknowledge just a few of the many ways in which God has blessed us and our labors since our last annual meeting. And so it is only fitting to end with our Shehechiyanu prayer… We praise you, God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has given us life, who has given us health, and who has enabled us to reach this day. Amen.

Mon, July 13 2020 21 Tammuz 5780