Two years. A lot has happened in two years.
Two years ago I was honored with the presidency of Temple Beth Hillel. I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I sure did not know what was going to happen.
I will say this first and I will say this last. Thank you.
Thank you for the honor, thank you for the support, thank you for the criticism, thank you for the joy and thank you for the challenges. Thank you for the growth and thank you for the losses.
I never made any secret of my desire to increase the social activism of our community. We have every reason to be proud of our participation in social justice issues like food insecurity and political activism. We have fed hungry families and we have spoken out against the separation of immigrant families.
We have stood with vulnerable minorities against those who hate, and the greater community has stood with us. We have spoken out against violence.
We have remained united in the face of increased anti-semitism and protested the parts of government that tolerate, if not actively support it.
We have cried together and we have laughed together.
It has been mentioned that I focus too much on the negative, that there has always been bigotry. That inspiration is more important. There is truth in that notion. But Judaism has many components. It is part faith, part culture (food!), and part commitment to others. We have varying degrees of alignment to each pillar – halachah, avodah, and tikkun olam. Our strength as a community comes from the diversity we are made of.
Yes there is evil in the world, and it is important to call it out. But there is also the magic, the love, among those of us who work together to create a world more in line with Torah.
Temple Beth Hillel does this.
We are what we do.
Shalom y’all. Thank you.