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Points of View
Preparing the Way
My Point of View--Aug 1, 2003
© Rabbi Jack Moline

Perhaps you realize how much work goes into preparing for the beginning of the Jewish year. Benjy Cohen is deeply involved all summer with developing curriculum, recruiting staff and establishing the administrative systems that will allow us to welcome your children to Religious School and youth programs. Hazzan Dienstfrey has been using some of her maternity leave to explore new music and to expand her repertoire of melodies and settings for the Yamim Nor’aim. Iris Henley and her staff have been restoring the building to its full level of preparedness, collecting information for tickets and seating, distributing information about our finances and your part in them. And I sit here wondering what in the world I am going to talk about.

Of course, all of these activities go on in the midst of the never-ending stream of human concerns. Your triumphs and tragedies, small and large, continue unabated during the summer months. Couples are married, babies are born, children are tutored, milestones are reached. And, of course, the inevitable roster of illnesses and deaths dim the luster of the summer sun with the same frequency as all year ’round.

Our goal is to enable you to walk into our building in September and find everything ready to begin, full throttle. The writing and printing, the cleaning and shining, the tuning and adjusting will all be done, with some hard work and with God’s help. Only one thing is able to escape our attention.


The calendar offers us the luxury this year of a “late” start to the Holy Days. The month of Elul is the time to attend to the needs of the soul to prepare it for the weight of the season ahead. Do you have a curriculum for repentance? Are you attuned to the music of your soul and harmonious relationships with your loved ones? Have you attended to your physical and spiritual needs, balancing your checkbook and your diet, clearing your calendar and your conscience?

Elsewhere in the bulletin is information about a course David Blumenstein will lead to help you heed the sound of the shofar to make those preparations. But even if you can’t make those sessions, you still have the opportunity to prepare your way into the High Holy Days. Start by breathing – fully and purposely. Then listen to the sound of your breath. In that gentle rhythm, ask yourself what is really important in your life. Then, seek out the obstacles to fulfillment. You will likely find that they are injured relationships with the people around you and with God.

Take a few minutes each day to repair and renew your world, to hear its song and to begin the process of writing its newest chapter. We’ll be ready for you and you will be ready for us – if we all prepare the way.

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