Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Joys of Elul

I have been tremendously moved by the Jewels of Elul that have been making their way into my mailbox every day during this month of Elul. These little gems have been carefully prepared by people from various walks of life, in the hope that they might better facilitate our preparations for the upcoming Yamim Noraim. They have been small rays of light and have moved my spirit tremendously. If you haven't yet signed onto this site, I urge you do so by clicking above and registering for the remainder of the month. I promise that you will not be disappointed. 

The daily messages and the upcoming excitement at my own synagogue this weekend has really jump-started my thought processes. I have much to say, (when is that ever surprising?) and I am certain that individuals far more eloquent will do a much better job in expression, but I thought that I might begin with an anecdote from my childhood.

When I was a child, it was family tradition to wrap all birthday, Chanukkah, and anniversary gifts in yesterday's newspaper. Rarely did The Little Bro or I receive a package that was brightly coloured, (unless Mom found the comics section!) done up with ribbons, or that didn't transfer black ink to our eager hands. I have often wondered if my parents were ahead of the recycling curve or if wrapping paper was simply too costly to be wasted being torn to shreds by a six year old. Whatever their motivation, they instinctively understood that the outer trappings of the gifts, while important to generate excitement, had nothing on the gift itself, and what was inside the box and the sentiment behind it were what truly mattered.

This week at Temple Kol Ami we will be witness to the culmination of almost twenty-four years of work. We will be moving into our new, shiny, almost completed, permanent home. We have been nomads for the entirety of our existence and this Shabbat we put down roots. It is tremendously exciting. For those of us who have been witness to the many fits and starts over the years, I fully expect tears. For those of us who are a little newer to the process, I fully expect tears. We deserve the moment and we should all bask in the beauty, the experience, and the holiness of the scared space that we have communally created, but we cannot afford to become blinded and complacent by the beautiful package. We must fill this space with all that we have been, all that we are, and all that we are yet to be. We must pray together, sing together, and study together so that this new Makom Kadosh-this Holy Place-becomes a gift that truly matters. 

I cannot think of a better way to enter the month of Elul than by gathering as a Kehillah Kedoshah-a holy community-and marching our Sifrei Torah into our new home. We are just beginning our preparations for the High Holy Days and this milestone will set an auspicious tone for what is yet to come. I hope that you will all join us this Shabbat as we embark upon the next steps in our journey. 

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