16 September 2012

Shanah Tovah 5773

At sundown this evening, Congregation Beth Elohim joins Jewish community's world-wide in celebrating the New Year 5773.   

This is a special time for our synagogue, which commemorates its 150th year since its founding in 1862.  Our Founders journeyed to Brooklyn from Central Europe and built a beacon of Learning, Prayer and Good Deeds in the midst of a nation that was at Civil War; whose African Americans were enslaved; and where women were denied the right to vote.  Whereas one founding family made buttons for Union Army jackets, future members helped integrate the U.S. Armed Forces and integrate schools, while today we remain active, as a Jewish community, fulfilling the Prophet's vision that "Mine House Shall Be An House of Prayer for All People."  And finally, to celebrate our 150 years in Brooklyn, we are commissioning the writing of a new Torah Scroll--the first of its kind in the history of New York City--to be written entirely by a female scribe.  The year of celebration begins on October 7.

It is a marvel to behold the changes that have occurred broadly in our city, our nation and the world while being reminded daily of the inspiring vision of each generation of leaders at Congregation Beth Elohim, who, like the Synagogue's first leaders, held fast to Jewish values in order to bring greater Justice, Kindness and Peace to the world.

Our community is particularly grateful to be worshipping inside our historic Main Sanctuary--undergoing an important restoration--thanks to the generosity of our current membership that is helping us renew our places of Learning and Prayer so that we may thrive for another 150 years.   And as we do each year, we will hear the Cry of the Shofar across the generations, in High Holy Days services for all ages and all levels of learning.

At this time of celebration and introspection, we are reminded of the challenges that face our generation, of those less fortunate in our community and our world, and of our obligation to reach out with generosity through the varieties of opportunities for service that our community offers.  

In that way we build a bridge back to the Founders' vision and Forward to the future, in awe and humility in this Season of Turning and Renewal, to build anew this beacon of Learning, Prayer and Good Deeds.

May you and yours be blessed with goodness and be written into the Book of Life for health and peace in the New Year.

L'Shanah Tovah Tikateivu

Rabbi Andy Bachman

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