From the Rabbi:
Our tradition teaches that the forthcoming High Holidays are a time of introspection and self-evaluation. The tradition requires each of us to examine and correct his/her behavior. It is not enough just to attend services. We have to improve our behavior.
There are many mitzvot (commandments) which a Jew is required to perform. But what is the most important commandment?
Rabbi Akiva said, “To love another person as yourself is the all-encompassing rule of Torah.” If the love of others is the all-encompassing rule of Torah, then all of the commandments must be contained within that rule and none can be external to it. Thus, every commandment must relate to the love of our fellow human beings.
If, in the performance of a mitzvah, we demean or belittle another human being, then we are performing that mitzvah in a way that is contrary to Judaism.
During the High Holidays, we come to the synagogue to pray. We listen carefully to the sounds of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. We ask God to forgive our sins. We are commanded to fast on Yom Kippur.
However, we are deficient in our performance of the above mitzvot if our love for our fellow human beings is not enhanced by that performance.
Prayer is not meant to be an empty ritual. We should not be listening to the sounds of the shofar just to admire the technical proficiency of the shofar blower. Fasting on Yom Kippur is not designed just to test our physical endurance.
Our High Holiday experience will be successful only if it causes us to become better human beings. It is not easy to change. But change for the better in our relations with others is what the High Holidays require of us.
How can we be commanded to love other human beings? After all, love is a feeling which comes from the heart. Can someone be ordered to have a feeling?
I think that the rule is to act toward others as if we loved them. Judaism is a religion which requires us to control our actions. Hillel summed it up this way: “Do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you. All the rest is commentary....”
Mary and I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. L’shanah tovah.
Rabbi David Weissman
President Lily Ann Revitch
As we approach the High Holy days I give thanks for all that we have accomplished in the past year, as well as the ten years past. I gratefully acknowledge all those that helped move Temple Shalom forward with their strong belief in Judaism & Temple Shalom, including our benefactor Ze'ev Revitch and Eva Katz for her end of life gift. To each of you that have been a part of the Temple for so many years and to each of our more recent members that have become so much a part of us, it is not one person alone but all of us together that make Temple Shalom a warm and welcoming place of worship and gathering.
As I prepare myself for Yom Kippur I ask that if I have spoken wrongly about you’ if I have done harm to you, if I have not meet the expectations of the position I hold I ask for your forgiveness. I forgive those that have misjudged me.
The house chair Gabe Brenner is planning the renovation of our kitchen. We would like it to be before the holidays but this is not always in our hands. I do hope you have noticed the new lighting on the driveway of the building and over the front doors. Our thanks to the grounds committee of Brotherhood for keeping the grass trimmed & around the outside clean.
This year we will have ushers in the parking lot on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Please follow their directions as this is the first time that the parking lot will have to accommodate so many cars.
As you know this is the time of year that all congregations have a pledge or High Holiday donation card. As in past years there will be an envelope in each prayer book. We ask that you take the envelope home and consider it. We, as a Temple have a bigger obligation now that we have ownership of our own building. It is our aim not to change the dues structure so we must depend on our membership and the generosity of our guests at this time of year.
My grateful thanks to our wonderful spiritual leader Rabbi David Weissman who has been my guide and friend and who has lead our services with love and reverence.
On behalf of Ze'ev and myself we wish you all a healthy and a good, peaceful year. I look forward to greeting all of you at the High Holiday Services.
L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu
Lily Ann Revitch