Shanah Tovah Friends,
Recently, I spent a full Shabbat at a local Delray Beach hotel with our Neshamah leadership team. It was the first time we ever dedicated this uninterrupted time and energy to team building, friendship growing and planning for the upcoming year. It was truly amazing.
I learned so many things. First, I am surrounded by inspiring people who love building our Jewish community and expanding their personal Jewish lives just as I do. What a gift to have Sharon and our musical team, Lori and our school team, Kira, Ellen, Michelle and so many congregants and volunteers bringing Judaism to life for our community. Thank you for sharing this Neshamah adventure with me!
Second, there is power and momentum when we gather. For me, the end of the summer is usually bittersweet. I want one more leisurely morning, one more day with no strict schedule. And yet when I reconnect with my Neshamah partners and our mission, I’m excited and motivated and believe it or not – ready! – to get back to my busy life.
And finally, I learned (again) that a little change makes a big difference. Just moving ourselves over to the beach, being outside in nature, setting aside distractions -even 24 hours – allowed us to reset and refuel ourselves for the upcoming year. This probably seems obvious. We know it and yet we don’t do it enough.
When was the last time you gave yourself ample time to prepare for something new? When was the last time you changed your location to get a new perspective? When was the last time you appreciated the people and the human connection more than the task at hand?
It’s really hard. I’m not great at this myself. And yet, when I do it, it makes a big difference. Judaism is built to guide us in exactly these goals.
Judaism gives us time to prepare. This holiday season is not just a day or two. It’s actually two full months from the beginning of Elul to the end of Simchat Torah, to examine our lives and redirect ourselves to our truest priorities.
Judaism gives us a sacred space to separate from the hubbub of the outside world and tune in to our spiritual lives. Over this holy time, our sanctuary is filled with prayer, song, memories, hopes, regrets, mistakes, forgiveness, gratitude, sadness and every human experience. This is our place to bring it all.
And most importantly, Judaism reminds us that we are not alone. No matter how busy we’ve been or how far we may have drifted, a Jewish community is always our home.
Welcome home to Neshamah and welcome to this new year, 5784.
May you feel inspired by the people around you, embraced in the sacred space we create together, and deeply connected to our joyful and meaningful Jewish tradition!
L’shanah Tovah Tikateivu vTeihateimu,
May you be written and sealed for a good new year!