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Happy New Year

04/20/2016 04:39:22 PM


January 1st, 2016
20 Tevet 5776


Dear Friends,

As we begin a brand new year, I want to thank all of you for all ofyour contributions to Beth Sholom in 2015. I know it wasn't the smoothest year in our 60 year history, but I think we've come through with flying colors. I am certainly convinced that 2016 will be a good year for us, and I hope and pray that it is for each of us personally as well.

Tomorrow morning we'll have a special Starbucks Shabbat to discuss the new year. Are Jews allowed to celebrate the secular new year? Are Jews allowed to make new years declarations? How do we mark the passage of time on a calendar that's not entirely our own? We'll discuss these questions over the finest coffee and desserts in all the land! 9 am for coffee and nosh, 9:15 for study, and we'll begin the service at 10 am, with lunch to follow.

On New Year's I often hearken back to New Years 2000.
I was in college in New York, and everyone thought the world was going to end because of the Y2K bug (which was thankfully mostly a non-issue). Having no desire to be in New York over New Years, my then-girlfriend and I went to stay at a bed and breakfast on the Jersey shore in Belmar, NJ. There is not exactly a lot to do in Belmar in the wintertime. 

There is, however, a small yeshiva there, and an Orthodox shul, which we went to Shabbat morning. It was abundantly clear that we didn't belong there. After the service a cute elderly man came up to me and said "Hi, I'm ____. I'm the President of the Belmar Jewish Congregation. And if you move here, we'll make you the president of the Belmar Jewish Congregation!" Not exactly the best marketing strategy, though I am grateful for the laugh even 16 years later.

I hope you will consider joining us for any or all of our wonderful education programs beginning in January. We've got programs for all ages and stages - see the email that went out a few days ago for more information. Please do email me if you'd like to take the Intro to Judaism class so I can order the right number of books. I love teaching Intro classes. Teaching at that level helps me see things with new eyes. I'll be using a new curriculum put out by the American Jewish University. We already have a number of people signed up, and would love to have you with us. If you've been wanting to learn more about the basics of Jewish life, now's yourchance!

I hope many of our men will join us this Sunday morning for our relaunch of the Men's Club! Brunch will begin at 9 am, after minyan (which starts at 8). Help us revision and renew our Men's club. We can't let Sisterhood have all the fun around here, gentleman...

I'll be heading to Colorado on Tuesday for a few days with my dad and his wife, followed by the annual clergy conference of the Renewal movement. It'll be nice to unplug and be with my colleagues for a week. I always shed a few tears when I see my friends get ordained - it is a wonderful experience. I won't be checking shul email while I'm away. That being said, I'll have coverage on the pastoral line, so if you need me in case of emergency feel free to be in touch and I'll respond. I'll be back on the 15th before Shabbat begins.

On a personal note, I want to thank all of you who have reached out to me this year. This was certainly not the easiest year I've ever had. I'm grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.

Here's to a wonderful 2016. 
I'm looking forward to wherever the journey takes us, and grateful that you're all a part of it.

Happy New Year and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ilan

Sat, July 4 2020 12 Tammuz 5780