"Looking forward" is a delightful idiom. It implies both anticipation and progress, and both meanings apply to the things we have in store for the new year.
To calm fluttering hearts on Shabbat mornings, we are offering Hagbaha Training on Sunday morning, August 30, right after minyan (about 9:30). Those of you who would like to learn how to properly lift the Torah scroll are invited to come for a demonstration and practice session. Experts will be on hand to demonstrate basic technique; I will explain the rules and regs; there will be a practice scroll on hand. During this coming year, hagbaha will be distributed only to people who have demonstrated the skill necessary. (By the way, it takes leverage, not great strength!)
During the last weekend in October, we will sponsor an in-town Shabbaton with a difference. Members who live within walking distance of the synagogue (there are almost 35 households) will be asked to host overnight guests for Shabbat. We will create a true shabbes community, in hopes of inspiring deeper observance. Details will be forthcoming – hold the date. This event has been initiated by our Synagogue 2000 team.
The Men’s Club retreat weekend in early December promises to be an extraordinary gathering for the men of the congregation. Participants will focus on what it means to be male and Jewish in our time. Watch for more details.
Our kids will have a chance to plan and celebrate Purim during winter break. During the last week in December, we will offer Purim Camp at the synagogue. Those who attend will make masks and noisemakers, learn about the holiday and put together this year's slide show.
There is so much more forthcoming – youth group activities, adult education, concerts, social gatherings and an exciting year of Religious School. It is hard not to look forward. You will receive more information around the time of the High Holy Days.
And that brings up something else to which I look forward – seeing all of you gathered for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The holidays are not so far away, and in addition to all of the commotion in preparing for them administratively, the blend of reunion and introspection is a good benchmark for the progress of the year. Give some thought to how your year has gone and what you anticipate in the year to come. There is so much ahead when we are looking forward.