It sounds like a lot is happening in a period of 8-weeks at our synagogue. The fact is that a lot happens at our synagogue.
The strategic planning committee has spent the past eight months surveying the congregation and identifying strategic initiatives to work on over the next five, ten and even fifteen years. We identified and discussed trends in religion and particularly Jewish religious life and gathered input from our congregation on what is important to them.
One of Etz Chaim’s own, Audrey Honig, was recently chosen as a Rosh Eidah, unit head, at OSRUI. Audrey is the daughter of Rob and Lisa Honig and is a junior at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. We are so proud of her and her many accomplishments! I asked Audrey to tell us about her love for all things OSRUI.
There is an old story of five people in a boat. None of them like each other that much, so they mostly keep to themselves. Everyone is happy to allow the other to do their own thing. One day, the person in the corner begins to hack at the wood in the bottom of the boat. At first, everyone is fine with this. However, it’s not long before a small leak appears. The people say that the person in the corner should stop what they’re doing. The person in the corner argues that they’re doing their own thing and it doesn’t matter. The people respond, “When your actions affect all of us, it’s not just your thing.”
Is there such a thing as Jewish Spirituality? What does it mean? It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “I am spiritual, but not religious.” However, what does that really mean. Come and explore with Rabbi Cosnowsky, the origins of spirituality in Judaism and how Jewish spiritual practice can become a part of your daily life. This program is sponsored by the Etz Chaim Foundation as part of their Sunday morning programs..
Rabbi Cosnowsky will be on sabbatical from February 4 to March 4, 2020. This will be her first sabbatical after serving our congregation for the
past 14 ½ years. Please read her column for the instructions on how communication will be handled for the month she is away.
I began writing this column on Thanksgiving Day for the January 2020, newsletter. Later today, most of our family will be able to gather for dinner. My wife and I have talked to our children who live out of state. We may not be physically in one place; we can be emotionally connected.
I want to take a bit of space in this month’s bulletin article to let you know how thankful I am to be the religious school principal at Etz Chaim. Working with our staff, engaging with the families, and interacting with our students bring me such joy. I am grateful to all of you who help make this happen
This month we will celebrate the holiday, Hanukkah. There are many rituals and festivities associated with this holiday. We kindle the Hanukkah candles each night to spread and increase light and warmth even in the darkest and coldest times of the year. We spin the dreidel with its four Hebrew letters, nun, gimel, hay, and shin, making the acronym, Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, meaning a “great miracle happened there.”
September and October were busy months for our congregation. We kicked off with the beginning of religious school which included the Brotherhood’s picnic and games. That was followed by the family picnic celebrating our 60th year and the beginning of Selichot starting the High Holiday ‘season.’ And for both of these events the rainy weather let up so that we could enjoy our outside activities. The participants were grateful for the break in the weather.