The Journey Continues by Dr. Laura Bernstein

Tomorrow is Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer.  The counting of the Omer marks the period from Passover, commemorating the Jews’ Exodus from Egypt, to Shavuot, commemorating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The journey from Egypt to Sinai was not only physical, but it was also spiritual.  The Israelites had to find their way through the wilderness of the harsh desert terrain as well as finding their way through the struggles of psychologically transforming their world from one of slavery to one of freedom.   As they walked, they prepared themselves to be given and to accept the Torah.

Like the Israelites, we can find ourselves on journeys that have either an uncertain destination or undefined path.  We need to prepare ourselves to receive our own Torah and experiences of revelation.  I am personally on a journey to become the best mother, wife, friend, and leader I can be.   Reflecting on history, staying present in the moment, listening to the hopes and dreams of others, and remaining open to unexpected possibilities are all part of my path.

At Temple Beth El, all of us are similarly are on an important journey.  We are saying goodbye to beloved clergy, we are welcoming new leaders, and we are grappling with how to best be connected to Judaism and each other.  In our busy world filled with carpool lines, excessive traffic, illnesses, work challenges, many changes, and many choices, how do we keep pace, live our Jewish lives, and be a part of strengthening our synagogue community?  What is our journey really all about?

At the recent Federation Annual Meeting, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, encouraged us to turn the commonly-used expression “it is what it is” into “it is what we make it.”  Mr. Hoenlein shared many important insights about Israel that evening, but what stuck with me the most is how we can impact thoughts, ideas, and decisions every day by changing one mindset.  Temple Beth El isn’t just what it is.  Temple Beth El is what we make it.

If you are counting the Omer, I encourage you to think about the path you’re on and how our Temple fits in.  In just five weeks we will hit a milestone on our synagogue journey, and I look forward to going from strength to strength with each and every one of you.


          Don’t forget….our Annual Congregational Meeting is Monday, June 6 at 7:00 pm.  We will honor longtime and devoted leader, Jack Levinson, who is ending his two-year term as President.  For far longer, he has served on the Board and has started us on our important path to the next stage of our synagogue journey.  He will always be known as the president who brought Rabbi Knight and Rabbi Klass to our community—and me!  He clearly had a lot on his plate and fulfilled his task exceedingly well.  No end-of-the year annual meeting would be complete without speaking about the future as we talk about the transition, ratify our budget, install a new board, and enjoy a dessert reception, which will be hosted by our TBE Green Team.