DAY 312: Balancing Bigness and Uniqueness

May 8, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 312: Balancing Bigness and Uniqueness

*Note: This message is a little longer than usual


Dear Hevreh,

כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh

All of Israel is responsible for one another

An important area of my job that I am working on is learning how to balance — how to balance my personal and professional lives, how to balance speaking up versus staying quiet, and how to balance spearheading a small institution while participating in a larger Jewish community. The health of our community, in our programming, in our relationships, and in our participation, can only be strengthened by being a part of the larger Jewish community. This is why we have spent great effort to participate in communal activities like the Purimcarnivaland the Interfaith Yom Hashoa event, and it is why I was so pleased that we had such a strong showing at our communal Israel 65 Celebrationheld at Neve Shalom. These are programs that had the scale and the reach to make a stronger impact for its participants than we could have done ourselves; an impact that helps us be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

While it is important to experience something bigger than ourselves, it is also just as critical for us to create internal Beth Mordecai experiences that make us a unique and special community. How much fun was it to wave rally towels and cheer at our Summer Pep Rally,or laugh and sing at our Hannukah & Purim Celebrations? How many positive vibes were created from the inspiration, the music, and the food at the Welcoming Celebration(don’t forget the comedy!) and the CantorShowcase? We need these events as opportunities to come closer as our own congregation and to demonstrate how Judaism is alive and well in Perth Amboy.

Today, our synagogue will be welcoming members from the Rabbinic Association of Middlesex County for our monthly meeting. We gather together as rabbis from different institutions in Middlesex Community because of our understanding of the verse above, that all of us are responsible for one another. That means we talk to figure out how we can work together so that we can be a part of something bigger than ourselves, while also giving ourselves the space to make our communities unqiuely special. It’s a tricky balance, but that’s how we remain arevim zeh lazeh, responsible and caring for one another’s success.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

P.S. You can follow updates from the meeting of the Rabbinic Association of Middlesex County via my Twitter feed @Ari_Saks.

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