As we go through Elul, getting ready for the High Holy Days, we consider our actions of the past year. Did I consistently work to make the world a better place? Did I teach others about our values, through words or deeds? Did I share kind words, offer comfort, give and receive love?
Another tradition during Elul is to visit the graves of loved ones, which reminds us of the people we learned from and helps us honor their memories. It also makes us think about our own lives and the legacies we will leave.
Is it important to you to have the support of your Jewish community? Have your children experienced that? Have you shared that feeling with any other people, to let them know how special our CBI family is, and what we can offer them?
A woman who has visited us recently experienced a lot of losses, and at a recent Game Night, someone who attended commiserated with her and shared about his own loss. This kind of support can be invaluable, with many life experiences.
Many young families have given up on religious institutions, and we need to think together about making new connections and sharing the value of our Jewish community with others. Having Jewish friendships, and sharing the task of instilling our values with your synagogue community can make parenting easier, and we want to be able to offer that to more families. If your children are not involved with a shul, what would be most of interest to them and give them a reason to come? Some members have grandchildren, and could leave a wonderful legacy by continuing a family tradition at Congregation B’nai Israel. Even if you have no children, you could be an amazing mentor to someone younger.
At this time of year, we evaluate our behaviors, our intentions, habits, and priorities. It’s time to revisit our assumptions – that we don’t need to change – and rise above them to think about what we want to be, and how we can help our community to grow.
– Cheryl Gewing