Shabbat Shalom from the J
The world is a very different place than it was a month ago. A month ago, the J did not have each department successfully running programs without a building. We did not have a free two-week day camp created in partnership with Greene Family Camp. Our entire staff and teachers, along with our Board and community members, never gathered for Shabbat in the Tennis Center where we shed tears of joy and sadness while singing “Lean on Me."
When Houston was hit with the worst, our entire J community decided to function at its best. We learned over the past few weeks that the impossible is, in fact, possible. This value of possibility is deeply Jewish and reinforced in this week’s parsha, Nitzavim-Vayelech.
As the Israelites are preparing to enter the land, Moses states: [As for God’s command to love God and to walk in God’s ways] "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?'” "Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?'” "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.” (Deut: 30:12-14)
Here, the Torah teaches that nothing is beyond our reach, no matter how difficult it seems. Nitzavim is the last parsha in our Torah reading cycle before the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The connection between Nitzavim and Rosh Hashanah is not accidental. We are supposed to enter into this time believing in ourselves, in the power of our community, and in all of the possibilities that lie ahead. Harvey did not create our potential, it only allowed us to tap into what has been here all along.
My hope and blessing for this Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah is for us to continue to transform what is ‘possible’ into what is ‘actual.’ I am excited to learn and grow with all of you this year.
Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah,
Rabbi Jill Levy