From the President – Nov. 12, 2021

I have long thought that we see what we want or expect to see, or more accurately, we perceive what we want to perceive. We seek facts that support our conclusions rather than make our conclusions based on facts. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the mundane and the trivial or even petty and fail to see or perceive what is really there.
Rabbi Dean wrote about how Jacob was able to perceive God where others couldn’t. Even with a pandemic and the reality of climate change, perhaps we should make the effort to see what is good. At the beginning of our Shabbat services, Rabbi Dean asks us to reflect on what we are grateful for. I am grateful for the gorgeous sunset on Kol Nidre evening. I am grateful that theaters are reopening and soon I will be able to do the work that I love. I am grateful for our granddaughter. And I am grateful that I am part of our TBH community. We have our challenges and our disagreements, but we pray together and learn together and support each other. We need to remember the good things that surround us while we acknowledge the things that are not good and continue to work to repair them.
Maybe this optimism is unwarranted or even madness. It very well could be, but I remember my Holocaust-survivor step mother saying that those who couldn’t cling to their hope and even optimism threw themselves on the electrified fences in the camps. Besides, what is madness? In Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes wrote, “when life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be.”

We are Temple Beth Hillel.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when? -Rabbi Hillel
~ Michael R Cohen, President, Temple Beth Hillel