Tonight is Kol Nidre, the eve of Yom Kippur, the most solemn service of our year. And yet, it can be the most hopeful, because it offers the possibility of a fresh start, all failings forgiven.
Whether or not we’d use the term, all of us are seekers. As Psalm 42 puts it, “As a deer pants at water brooks, so does my soul thirst for God.” Medieval mystic Avraham Ibn Ezra used these words in a chant, tzama nafshi: “my soul thirsts.”
Our theme for this year’s cycle of High Holy Days is “Seeking.” As we begin our journey through these 10 days of reflection and transformation, I want to offer a kaleidoscopic of God images – images of a multi-faceted power unseen with the eyes, calling us to seek that which is sacred. The liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offers us a palette of verbal faces – images of God – that can help us relate to the Divine from deep within ourselves.
Temple Beth-El proudly embraces LGBT members and families, and were among the very first to solemnize same-sex marriages in New York. We adhere to the ALEPH (Jewish Renewal) statement of principles to uplift full inclusion and dignity for all.
It is a joy to share some words of Torah with all you on this Shabbat- Shabbat HaGadol, it was named. The Great Sabbath. The Rabbis of old named this the Great Sabbath because it is the one that comes just before our holy festival of Passover. Tonight is indeed the Shabbat before the beginning of Passover, just a week away.
In this village, our spirits really do become parts of each other: I can see the joy in your eyes, reflecting the joy in my own eyes. This mingling of joy amidst joy is what I hope for all of us each Shabbat. Thank you for helping make today’s Shabbat one I’ll remember for a lifetime.
I am privileged to participate in Rabbis Without Borders, a project of CLAL: The National Center for Jewish Life and Learning. Rabbis Without Borders is a group of select rabbis dedicated to innovation and national service, and we had our annual conference last week.
Temple Beth-El of City Island is proud to announce the smicha (ordination) of our very own Rabbi David Evan Markus in the lineage of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Shohama Wiener and the Vaad (Academic Leadership) of ALEPH, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
It takes a village to raise a rabbi. While in a literal sense my ordination comes from ALEPH, the seminary of Jewish Renewal, in the truest sense my ordination comes through Temple Beth-El of City Island – through you.
Welcome to Temple Beth-El of City Island, Your Shul by the Sea. We are a loving and inclusive community that emphasizes joyful Judaism and nurtures the spiritual heights and depths of Jewish tradition. Our members and friends hail from across the New York metropolitan area, and describe us as haimish (warm) and real, without pretense. Come as you are, bring your entire self, and know that you will be embraced exactly as you are.