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Laura Hausman

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Home From the Rabbi From the Rabbi - November 2017
From the Rabbi - November 2017 PDF Print E-mail
It is often said that Judaism is a religion of deed and action.  This is an important factor in how we understand ourselves and how we find particular Jewish approaches to common ideas.  Later this month most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family and, as we do so, we will hopefully take time to contemplate what we are thankful for and how that should effect our lives beyond this one day of joyful gratitude. 

A prayer that appears in our prayerbook, Mishkan T’filah, suggests an important insight in how we should look at gratitude from a Jewish point of view. The prayer starts with very high minded ideals, thanking G-d for “the expanding grandeur of creation” and “worlds known and unknown,” but soon moves to express gratitude for more concrete aspects of life.  The prayer thanks G-d for “human community” and “our capacity to work for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression.” This reminds us that at its heart Judaism is about our connection to others and how that connection allows us to act as more than just individuals to achieve great things for the betterment of the world. 

Looking forward to the next month in the life of our congregation these themes become even clearer.  As we prepare for our annual Food Fest the engagement of our community in creating such an amazing event is incredibly inspiring.  Weeks of work by so many people come together to create a truly wonderful event that reaches far beyond our congregation and into the community at large.  That we are able to do this reminds us of how much we can achieve as a community when we truly put our minds to it and how grateful we should be for that opportunity.

Later in the month we will also be honored to participate in the 83rd annual Thanksgiving service with the Church of the Good Shepherd.   This deeply meaningful collaboration began in 1934 as response to rising anti-Semitism in Europe, showing how Jews and Christians could work together in friendship and with mutual respect.  It reminds us that even today, injustice is real here and around the world and that, as we appreciate our good fortune on Thanksgiving, we can show our gratitude for “our capacity to work for peace and justice” by working to create them for others in the world.  We can do this through charity and good deeds and through the work of our CBI Social Action committee to make a world a better and more just place for all. 

As we look towards Thanksgiving later this month we are grateful for all the opportunities our community gives us to do good and, in the concluding words of the prayer in Mishkan T’filah, “We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rabbi Ilan Emanuel



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