My Dear Friends,
I write this article in the aftermath of the Aurora tragedy. In the days following the shooting, the world press took the spiritual, physical and emotional pulse of our community. I was contacted by multiple new sources and asked 2 basic questions. The first question was:
Where was God in this tragedy?My answer was straightforward and simple. God had nothing to do with the tragedy. God was in the response to tragedy. God was present in the acts of heroism, comfort and consolation that we witnessed. God was in heroism of the police officers, EMT’s, ambulance drivers, medical professionals, 911 Emergency personnel and everyone else who answered the call to help. God was in the acts of those who risked and, in a few occasions, lost their lives in order to save others.
The second question was always some form of:
What should the religious response be to terror?
Again, my response was simple and straightforward: The religious response to terror can best be found within the context of community. By coming together – to pray and to grieve, to comfort and console one another we were bringing God into our lives.
Soon we will be entering into a new year. When we gather together at Temple for High Holy Day services, we are doing more than simply performing an age-old ritual. We are also affirming the importance and centrality of creating and celebrating sacred community. Whether we are at “Rosh HaShanah Unplugged,” or in our sanctuary service, or at Shwayder camp, the simple act of coming together as a community strengthens our souls and our congregation. This year, in the shadow of the events in Aurora, our need to pray, to celebrate and experience community is all the more intense.The sounding of the shofar is a clarion call for us to support one another – in times of difficulty and in times of joy. Each note offers us an opportunity to engage in the process of Cheshbon HaNefesh examining ourselves and our souls in the context of our community. If it has been a while since you’ve been in Temple – it doesn’t matter: we want to welcome you home. If you are new to our congregation – now is the perfect time to find your place. We need and want your presence.
I look forward to worshipping together very soon.Sue, Ethan and Elana join me in wishing you all a Shanah Tovah U’metukah – a good and sweet new year.
Rabbi Joseph R. Black