Rabbi Ashira's Reflections
As I write this letter to you on a very cold January morning, I am thinking about all of the ways our community creates warmth to sustain and nourish us. This past month, we honored the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with our annual interfaith service. What a blessing it was to gather with our neighbors in song and prayer! Right on the heels of that beautiful evening, we celebrated Tu biSh’vat, the new year for trees with a community seder. Enjoying the delicious fruit of the trees helped us to look forward to Spring and reminded us that we can find sweetness even in the cold winter. Last but not least, Soup Shabbat made a return. I love this way of entering Shabbat with you and getting to know you better.
In this month of February, our Torah readings will take us from our successful crossing of the Sea of Reeds towards Mount Sinai and eventually to the Promised Land. The narratives after crossing the Sea of Reeds focus on establishing the community of Israelite people. In parashat Yitro, at the beginning of February, we read about how to share responsibilities across the community so that the work not only is manageable, but also it becomes a way to connect with other people. A little later in the month, in parashat T’rumah, we will read how each Israelite brought gifts to create the mishkan (tabernacle), the sacred space they took with them through the wilderness. The lessons from these portions remain especially relevant today. Here at Temple Emanu-El, all of our events and programs come together as a result of the efforts of many people. Each of us can contribute to the congregation according to our skills and capacity. At the very least, we can come to the temple for the various activities each month. And even when we are unable to be physically present, most of our events are accessible by Zoom so that you can remain connected from afar. If you are interested in helping to make our programs happen or have ideas for events you would like to see, please reach out to me either by email or by calling the temple office (978.373.3861).
February will be a month filled with sweetness and the warmth of community, especially with the added gift of your presence. On Saturday February 3 at 9:30 am, our Shabbat morning service will feature many of our religious school families. The very next day, Sunday February 4, is Grandparents’ Day during religious school. J-Play! will have a Tot Shabbat experience on Sunday February 11. On Friday February 16 at 7:00 pm, we will hold our annual Scout Shabbat. Last but not least, we will enjoy another Soup Shabbat on February 23 at 6:30 pm. If you haven’t been to Temple Emanu-El yet in 2024, I invite you to come to any of these gatherings and bring friends. Though the temperatures are low, our spirits will be high when we come together as a community.