July 23, 2024 /

To New Beginnings – June 2021

By the time you read this, there should hopefully be a definitive plan for coming back together in our Temple. It has been a long and hard 16 months since we last prayed together in the same space. Our motto for this past year and a half was, “Physically distant, yet spiritually connected” and while I have not seen many of you in the flesh, I still have felt my spiritual connection to you all during this time. Before I began my journey to becoming a rabbi I worked as a camp counselor at URJ Eisner Camp and there was a tradition at the camp that at the first night of camp they would all gather in their outdoor sanctuary and then walk in the Torahs and pass them through the congregation of campers until they reached the ark. After placing the Torahs in the ark the song leaders would lead us in the singing of a prayer entitled Lamakom Hakadosh, meaning “This Holy Place.” The prayer went: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech Haolam, Shehechziranu lamakom hakadosh hazeh, Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the world for returning us to this holy place. I am greatly looking forward to being able to sing this prayer with all of you when we are soon finally able to gather again.

And when you come back you will be greeted by two new faces as well. It is a great pleasure to introduce you to our two new rabbinic interns, Sienna Lotenberg and Ezra Leventhal. Rabbis Lotenberg and Leventhal are both rabbinical students at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, New York Campus. Rabbi Lotenberg is a rising 4th Year Student Rabbi and she will be with us as a regular on the pulpit and teaching some adult education classes and engaging with our High School students as well as a few other things. Rabbi Leventhal is a rising 3rd Year Student Rabbi and she will be primarily working with our younger youth groups as well as families with young children. Rabbi Leventhal will also be working to develop engagement with unaffiliated 20- and 30-year Jews in the larger Middlesex County community. I greatly look forward to introducing you to them during the High Holy Days; they are a wonderful addition to our AEMT Family. I hope you all have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Philip N. Bazeley