Amazing Gifts by Dr. Laura Bernstein

A new riding helmet. A pair of barn boots. Barbie clothes. Movies. Games. Toy horses. These are some of the gifts my daughter has received this Chanukah. What I have received is a half-eaten lollipop, a prized necklace and bracelet, an original drawing, and the blessing of a smile, hug, and cuddle.

Exactly seven years ago this month, my husband and I dreamed of adopting a baby. Amidst economic turmoil, the holiday season frenzy, and a rash of extreme weather conditions, we dreamed of what our life would be like if we could share it with a child. In March 2009 our lives drastically changed as our dream became reality and we were thrown into parenthood. And we’ve been on the most thrilling rollercoaster ride ever since.

So what does our dream have to do with what’s happening in our congregation right now? We each have a dream about what our next senior rabbi should be like. Most of us agree in principle – someone who is kind, has good presence on the bimah, builds genuine relationships, leadership skills, etc. But, we all interpret what is best through our own lens. A good leader to me may not mean the same thing as a good leader to you. Just like Joseph listens to, interprets, and finds meaning in Pharaoh’s dreams, may we all take time to listen and find meaning in each other’s dreams even as we listen to our own dreams. And just like Joseph’s dream interpretation is part of a sacred journey, may we recognize that our journey to finding a new Senior Rabbi is also a sacred task.

In the chaos of interacting with rabbinical candidates, thinking about the implications of two new rabbis, and the December holidays, it is easy for us to forget that we need to dream big and dream together. Are you dreaming? Participating in the process? Sharing your feedback? Expressing your concerns? Keeping an open mind? Listening to others? Are you seeing the amazing gifts each of our candidates bring and the amazing gifts each of our congregants bring? Have you shared your dream?

Our tradition tells us that dreams are in small part a prophecy of God speaking to us. We connect to ourselves and to God through dreams.

As we reflect on our future together, I hope we are all listening to our dreams and finding ways to appreciate each other’s gifts.

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