Rabbi – Sept.-Oct. 2017

Rosh Hashanah Thoughts

Susan Elkodsi
If it seems as though Rosh Hashanah is coming earlier than last year, well, that’s because it is! The year 5776 was a leap year, and the 2016 High Holidays were about as late as they could be with respect to the secular calendar. On the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah is the 1st day of Tishrei.

As I look back on the past year and think about the coming year of 5778, I’m filled with a sense of awe, pride and humility. August 1 marked the beginning of my third year here at MJC, and the beginning of my new contract that will, God willing, take us together through September of 2023. It’s hard to imagine thinking that far ahead, so I won’t; I’ll focus on what’s coming up in the near future.

This year we welcome Rabbi Iscah Waldman as our High Holiday chazzan. She brings years of experience davening along with a beautiful voice and a solid understanding of the magnificence of these services.

We will again be opening our Berger Room “sanctuary” to members of the community at no charge, and look forward to greeting those who have been joining us every year for meaningful, heimishe services.

On August 6 MJC made a very clear, public statement about the future of our synagogue when I was officially installed as rabbi and spiritual leader. I was blessed to have Rabbi Yechiel from Valley Stream deliver an opening blessing, and to have Rabbis Colin and Amanda Brodie, my rabbis and mentors from Connecticut, preside over the installation ceremony. Thank you to our president Dave Feldman for his beautiful words in my honor, and the reminder to all that this is a sacred partnership. I can’t do this without you; I need your support and your participation.

For many, a synagogue is a place to pray, and if that’s what draws you in, wonderful! For the rest of us, myself included, a synagogue community is so much more. However you “do Jewish,” you can find a way to access that at the Malverne Jewish Center. Whether it’s adult learning, social action, chanting and meditation, social activities or simply schmoozing, we’re here. Tell me what would bring you into the community.

This is the month of Elul, which in Hebrew is spelled aleph-lamed-vav-lamed. Those letters also form the acronym, AniL’dodi V’dodi Li, “I am to my beloved as my beloved is to me.” We are God’s beloved, and God is ours. That doesn’t mean we’re always happy with each other, but we are together in a holy relationship. As Martin Buber understood it, “I-Thou.” Preparing for the High Holidays means more than making sure the brisket and kasha and cooked and in the freezer; it means preparing ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally for a new year. Books can be very helpful, and if you need suggestions, ask me! If you have questions about the services, ask me!

I look forward to the coming year together and wish a heartfelt Shana Tova u m’tooka to you and yourloved ones.

Rabbi Susan Elkodsi