After the unique experience of maternity leave under a global pandemic (though I do not know the experience of such leave under any other circumstance), it’s SO nice to be back “in the office.”
With just one deep exhalation, that first phone call, and the wheels of creativity are turning again. That first call came from one of our teens:
The Questions: “You’re back soon, right? We can get started on planning programs for our new reality, right? We’re still going to have a youth group, right?”
The Answers: “Yes, absolutely, and of course.”
We went on to talk about how this year will look like no other year in the life of Temple Emanu-El. In dreaming of what will be, I can’t help but parallel the upcoming experience for Temple Emanu-El, to my own life, as I begin this simultaneous journey as a new parent. Perhaps you too have new beginnings in your life, whether it is a new job, a job hunt, a work-and-home-school balance, a new grade level at school, or something entirely off the wall — new beginnings are continually occurring.
Let’s be gentle to ourselves. Things won’t run without hiccups. The technology will falter, our energy will ebb and flow, but remember, we’re on this journey together. The more we are open to embracing these new experiences and opportunities, the more we will get out of what lies ahead.
Unmistakably, the nearest journey ahead of us, as a Jewish people, is the High Holy Day season. The official countdown to the High Holy Days begins TONIGHT as we welcome the new moon and Rosh Chodesh Elul, the Hebrew month before Rosh Hashanah, and the launch of Tishrei.
If you’ve taken a break from joining us on Facebook Live for Shabbat services, hop back on this week and every week leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Kick-start your spiritual experience ahead of the Jewish New Year and get those prayer-filled-muscles moving again.
When I was finally cleared to workout again after the pregnancy, my body still ached; I had to reactivate muscles that had taken a little hibernation. It’s the same thing with our prayer-muscles; they need help waking up before we hit the marathon that is the High Holy Day season. So join me throughout Shabbat, wake up those prayer muscles that may have taken a little rest, and let us enter these new beginnings together.
Our God and God of our ancestors, may the new month bring us goodness and blessing. May we have long life, peace prosperity, a life exalted by love of Torah and reverence for the divine; a life in which the longings of our hearts are fulfilled for good.1
1) Mishkan T’filah: Blessing for the New Month, p. 379.