Again, I am participating in Blog Exodus/ExodusGram, a project that brings together Jewish bloggers in preparation for Pesach. I have treasured the opportunity to write in this realm and it has become an important aspect of my preparation for the holiday of Passover. I hope you enjoy my writing–and follow the hashtag to find other interpretations on the topics.
The Jewish calendar has 4 celebrations of the new year: the new year for kings (now Rosh Hashanah, also the time for setting the Sabbatical Year and for tithes), the new year for trees in sh’vat, the new year for months in Nisan (the month in which we find ourselves), and the new year for the tithing of cattle. I think that there is a great lesson here–that the new year starts more than once. That we have multiple points of entry to start anew. We all have multiple celebrations of new years–birthdays, anniversaries, times that mark our own calendar…there are several times a year when we start anew in different ways, like birthdays or the first day of school.
For me, the CCAR Convention is one of those times. The years when I’ve missed out have been years during which I’ve felt the loss. But in those years during which I’ve had the opportunity to join with my fellow Reform Rabbis, I’ve felt a profound sense of renewal. Of a new year.
Because of the learning, because of the inspiration, because of the late night conversations, because of the hugs, because of the laughs, because of the tears…because of all of that, these conventions help to shape my rabbinate and shape my life. They give me the chance to start anew each year.
In happy times, it is wonderful to celebrate with dear friends. In challenging times, it is helpful and meaningful to cry with dear friends.
This year, I felt both. I had many moments of inspiration–of sharing memories and creating new memories. Of having amazing moments of wonder. And I had moments–one in particular–in which I cannot be more thankful for being around those with whom I have shared memory. A moment in which the hearing of difficult, horrible news was not softened by the presence of friends, but during which holding on to and being held by friends helped to get through the moment.
Each year, this conference helps to shape my year to come. I am always thankful. I am always inspired. I am always blessed. And so, I begin a new year.