Today and this weekend, Americans of all stripes will gather around a table for a seder of sorts. While there is not a set hagadah, Thanksgiving is the time that we recount our blessings and our journeys as a collective. A little over a month after the High Holy Days we measure the progress we have made in our commitments for the new year. Thanksgiving is a time to look into the eyes of friends and family and acknowledge that despite the challenges we face, we have much for which to be thankful. Modim anachu lach
This past Thursday, a week before Thanksgiving, Rachael and I were gifted the opportunity to be a part of history, the ordination of the 100th Reform rabbis in Israel. Thanks to the generosity of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and donors from Hebrew Union College, we stood in awe of the time and place. With the medieval walls of Jerusalem as our backdrop, we prayed Hatikvah, and watched as the newest rabbis of Israel were ordained. In a country which struggles to find the balance of religious pluralism, my heart was filled with joy and promise for a future in which all can celebrate their Judaism as each sees fit. Modim anachu lach
Modim anachu lach, these are the words which begin our prayer of thanksgiving each day, and every Shabbat. In this prayer we recount how thankful we are to You, God, for the greater awareness of our blessings. Whether or not our table is filled with family or friends, we acknowledge that You have given us the ability to give thanks for a world filled with beauty, and for the ability to heal that which needs mending. I am grateful to be a part of a people who celebrates vibrant and diverse religious life in America and Israel. Baruch Atah Adonai, hatov shimcha u’lcha na-eh l’hodot, Source of Being, we are thankful to You for warmth which our families and friends provide, for the sustenance which fills our stomachs, and for the love that surrounds us by Your creations. Modim anachu lach.