May 28, 2022 /
With the beginning of October comes the beginning of our new year 5780. I find myself now looking back over 5779, and I find myself recalling many of the wonderful events and programs we had last year, all the classes we spent together learning, the congregational dinners and services, the singing and festivities we enjoyed. As we draw closer to Yom Kippur, I also find myself thinking back about all the people we have lost and the fond memories of times shared.
I don’t think we can truly move forward into the future until we have come to fully appreciate our past. The poet Laura Gilpin once wrote that we are like aerialists on a swinging trapeze letting go of one ring to catch another. “Hold on and let go a subtle duality that endows our life with meaning – neither denying the past nor foreclosing the future.”
While we spend much of the High Holy Days praying to God, the Holy Days are really about us. On Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate the creation of the world, what happened long ago, but on Yom Kippur, we realize that it’s really about us and how we will alter the future of this world.
Will we take the time to be reflective of our behavior? Will we work to correct the wrongs we have made and make peace where we can? Will we work to bring righteousness and justice into this world, or will we just let evil and hate fester?
Our Holy Days are supposed to remind us that we aren’t just passengers in life going from one stop to the next. No, we are in the driver’s seat. We can transform our destiny and the destiny of the world we live in. We can guide the direction of creation. We can transform the darkness around us into a beacon of light.
This month not only marks our High Holy Days, but it also marks our 160th anniversary. On October 11th, we will begin a year of reflecting on the past of this Temple, but we will also focus ourselves on the future and what we have yet to build. For 160 years, our Temple has served as a beacon of light to the people of New Brunswick. Our congregation has been here as a source of support for individuals of all faiths who needed through us Tikkun Olam (social justice), Talmud Torah (education), or Avodah (acts of faith).
While I am excited for all of the many different ways that we will celebrate our 160th year, our anniversary weekend will be the embodiment of all that is to come. We will have a very special service on Friday night, study session on Shabbat Morning and then we will all come together on Sunday to have a congregational “Day of Service” where we will spend the day serving our community and the people of New Brunswick. We will simultaneously be looking back at our history, and also having dreams about our future.
Philip N. Bazeley