This is the most exciting and powerful season of the year for Jews and Judaism and I urge you not to let go of the good feelings and experiences that we shared at Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
These sacred days are dynamic “be-ins,” where we gather together as one big, glorious family to sing, study, apologize, forgive, celebrate and feel pride in who we are and how we want to live. But there’s lots more coming up – for adults and children – so please take advantage of all that we have to offer.
1. Soon there will be our Hanukkah service (December 19), followed by Purim (March 4), our Congregational Pesach Seder (April 10), our Israel Independence Day service (April 24) and Shavuot (May 23). These holidays are fun and memorable for children and adults of all ages with moral lessons and exciting customs.
2. Our monthly Distinguished Speakers’ Series is coupled with our melodic and joyous “Shabbat Alive” services, when we bring fascinating scholars and dynamic lecturers who teach us, in a sophisticated way, about contemporary Jewish and human life.
3. Our annual Kallah/retreat brings together study, worship, making new friends and the beauty of nature for University Synagogue members of all ages (May 1-3). Services are fun and relaxed, the talent show is always memorable, the study topics are relevant and relationships have a chance to grow over a 45 hour Shabbat/weekend.
4. Adult Education – with over 30 courses, there’s something for everyone, from Introduction to Judaism level to advanced studies. Peruse the catalog; “click here” and spend a few hours a month learning Judaism in a sophisticated way. You can join many courses at any time, but RSVP.
5. Pre-School, Religious School, Tot Shabbat Family Services, Beach Services, Youth Groups, Youth-led Services and our Family Events (the next one, “Bowling With The Rabbi And Cantor,” is on Sunday, December 7). These are all pathways to attending University Synagogue together as a family and letting your children see that Judaism isn’t something for children to “grow out of,” but rather it’s a lifelong journey for all of us, of all ages, to “grow into.” Learn with your children, talk to them around the dinner table or in the car about your best Jewish experiences and, if those memories weren’t so good in the past or you never had them, let your children know that, as a family, University Synagogue is going to give all of us “memories for the future” and pleasure and meaning today.
6. Create a pattern of Jewish life in your lives. Like a symphony or theater subscription series, circle dates on your 2014-2015/5775 calendar for coming to University Synagogue. (Our calendar through June, although sometimes changing, is available on our website.) Commit to learning, spirituality, community, friendships and supporting others in times of joy and sorrow. Women’s Connection, Choir, Tikkun Olam/Social Action, our Jewish Film Festival, “Shabbat Dinners with Friends,” the Gala and our annual Biblical Trial are just a few of the dozens of ways to get involved. Call or come in to see me to help you create your own roadmap through all that University Synagogue offers.
7. Thank the volunteers who make University Synagogue possible. Our Board members’ names are on the last page of this newsletter. Our past presidents’ pictures are on the wall next to my office. All of them have juggled life, family and careers with the busy demands of University Synagogue leadership. Please let them know how much you appreciate their efforts.
We want everyone to find meaning and purpose as well as friendship and caring at our shul. We want to include everyone – every religion, race, orientation, level of knowledge in Judaism and so much more – in our synagogue home and in our personal lives. Let’s share the future together. What can we do for you?