Rabbi's Monthly Message

April's Message from Rabbi Hannah Orden

Rabbi’s Message – Creating Community, from Kvetch to Kvell – April 2017

This year April coincides with the Hebrew month of Nissan, when we celebrate Passover, which is also known as Zeman Cheruteinu – the Season of Our Liberation. I am thrilled that we will be hosting our friends from Fountain Baptist Church at our 2nd annual Liberation Seder on April 5 at 7:00 PM. A group from Fountain Baptist has been working hard to create a ritual to tell their people’s story of a rich African heritage, the horrors of the Middle Passage and enslavement, the faith that helped them endure, and the modern day prophets who have arisen to speak truth to power. At the seder we will weave together the stories of both our peoples. I believe it will be a valuable evening of learning from each other’s stories, and I hope many of you will be here to welcome our neighbors from Fountain Baptist Church into our home.

As I am writing this, the week’s Torah portion is Va’Yakhel which begins with Moses bringing together all of the Israelites as a community. I have been thinking about the different ways that we create community within CBH and beyond. One powerful way to create community with our neighbors is to attend the Liberation Seder. Another way to create community is to attend our b’nai mitzvah services this spring. Everyone should have received an invitation to the services in the mail. If you did not, please let Melissa know. We also continue to bring our whole community together for a potluck and participatory service on the third Friday of each month.

There is one more way that I believe we can strengthen our community. Last week one of our committee chairs told me that she sees her role as supporting everything I do at CBH, and not just the activities her committee plans. I appreciated her comment not only as support for me personally, but also as support for others who are taking leadership in our congregation. I thought about the ways the Israelites in the Torah often complain: We’re tired of eating manna, why can’t we have meat? That man, Moses, has gone up on the mountain and we don’t know when he’s coming back. And I wonder what it is in human nature that makes it easier to kvetch than to kvell. What if the Israelites had said: That man Moses led us out of slavery! That man Moses made sure we had food in the desert! What can we do to show him how much we appreciate him? What can we do to support him and lighten his load?

This is my plea for how to strengthen our community: Look at the calendar and pick out one or two events that you’d like to attend and invite a friend – someone who is a member or someone who does not belong – to join you. And while you are here, seek our one of our hard-working leaders – our president, vice presidents, committee chairs, and musical leaders – and let them know how much you appreciate all they are doing for our community. Next time you feel like kvetching, pause for a moment to consider how instead you might kvell about all the wonderful things our community is doing.


Sun, 30 April 2017 4 Iyyar 5777