President’s Message, Rosh Hashanah 2017

September 22, 2017
By Beth Mordecai
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President’s Message, Rosh Hashanah 2017

Does anyone else feel like this year has flown by?  It seems as if we were just here and I was speaking to you about feeling the true impact of Rosh Hashanah.  It has been quite a year filled with highs and lows, but the beauty of this holiday, is that we are able to wipe the slate clean and begin again.  For me, this upcoming year is truly about new and different.  But this isn’t just about me, it’s about all of you too.  We all have the chance to begin fresh with new outlooks and new goals.   And I have to say that being here, today with all of you on Rosh Hashanah, fills me with anticipation and excitement because while this Congregation is celebrating its 120th year, it is right now all about what is new – a new Rabbi, a new Cantor, a new President.  (that would be me, did you think I was referring to someone else?)

And a new and renewed vision for Beth Mordecai that is bright, promising and exciting.

We are regrouping and reviewing, reshaping and recreating.  In this hurry up fast paced time in which we live, we want you to view Beth Mordecai as the place to where you come to pause, take a breath, escape the craziness of the outside world or to be the place to where you come to have some fun, do something different, make new friends.  We want Beth Mordecai to be the gift that you give yourself, because frankly we think you’re worth it.  And because we understand that the role that Judaism plays in our lives has changed our new vision starts with two very important components of our tradition; the first being the Saturday morning Shabbat service.  We feel that learning about Torah is just as important as reading the Torah, so in addition to our monthly Breakfast Minyan, two Shabbat’s a month, Rabbi Metz will conduct a learning in lieu of a full Torah Service.  The second change is that for Friday evening and Saturday morning services, we are now using a prayer book with transliteration enabling the Hebrew rusty and non-Hebrew readers to participate in and feel a part of the service.  We feel that your social connection is just as important as your religious one and to that end we are filling our calendar with Community Dinners, monthly mah jongg games and the book club will be gearing up again.  We are planning events that include wine, movies, cooking classes and kipot crocheting.  A Hebrew Reading class will be starting shortly that will focus on learning the alphabet leading into reading the prayers and Rabbi Metz is developing a discussion based learning series that will take place at venues outside of the temple.  And if you enjoy singing, we will have something for you as well.

We are in the initial stages of putting together a series of events that will celebrate this congregation’s 120 years.  Think about that for a moment.  120 years.  This location has been Beth Mordecai’s home for 90 of those years.  If these walls could talk, think about the stories that it could tell about Perth Amboy, historic moments in our country’s history, this temple’s history and the gossip.  (The Real Housewives of NJ) Unfortunately, it can’t but you can.  So I’m asking all of you who have a long history with Perth Amboy, or this temple or just an experience that you would like to share to put it in writing and send it to me.  I’m looking for any and all stories and my plan is to incorporate these stories into our events, which I’m hoping will culminate next spring with a huge party.

The missing component in all of this is you.  We can plan, organize, prepare but without all of you it is for naught.  You are the reason that we are here doing what we do.  You are the reason that this congregation has been around for 120 years and you will be the reason that it is still here 120 years from now.   Two years ago, I stood on this Bimah and asked you to look around and see the beauty of this sanctuary.  I asked you to feel the pull that I felt every time I entered this building.  Last year, I stood here and asked you to experience these High Holidays in a way that you never have before, to allow it to envelope you.  Today, I’m asking you to do those things again and more.  I’m asking you to make a wholehearted commitment to this congregation and this community.  To not only become a part of it, but to allow it become a part of you.  Our September bulletin, contains a note that I wrote to the members of this congregation.  That note includes these words:  Time and time again, the warmth, care and support that this community so selflessly gives of itself never ceases to amaze me and fills me with a sense of pride, joy and immense respect.  With that strength, determination and commitment there is nothing that we either individually or as a community cannot overcome.  With faith, confidence, perseverance we succeed.  Together, Beth Mordecai endures. Together, Beth Mordecai grows.  I believe those words with every fiber of my being.  We are on the precipice of something great and I for one am very excited to be a part of Beth Mordecai’s Rebirth and I hope that these words have inspired and intrigued you to want nothing more than to be a part of it as well.

I would like to conclude this address with a story that I hope stays with you.  Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with a member of our community who told me that every Shabbat morning her father walks miles to a specific shul for services even though he passes along the way a number of shuls all of which would be perfectly acceptable and accepting.  When asked why, he did this, his response:  I would rather be the 10th man at a small shul, then the 100th at a large one.

I am imploring each and every one of you – please come and be our 10th man.

L’Shana Tova

Category : High Holidays President's Message Rosh Hashanah