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Let’s Celebrate!

This weekend we will celebrate my 20th anniversary at KI, and our 20 years together sharing prayer, music, love, laughter, tears, friendship, holidays, life cycles and community together. It has been my great honor to share these years with you, and it is my great joy to be your Cantor each and every day. I can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend (Stream Here).

This year’s theme is “Make the Old New, the New Sacred.” I knew that I wanted this to be our theme for this year.  “L’chadeish Et Ha’yashan: Make the Old New, and the New Sacred.” This theme is based on Rav Kook (the first chief rabbi of what would become the State of Israel’s teaching) who offered that “the old shall be made new, and the new shall be made holy.” In Hebrew, הישן יתחדש והחדש יתקדש / ha-yashan yitchadesh v’ha-chadash yitkadesh.

I have loved this theme for us as a congregation and for my own life, and I have watched this theme play into the life of our congregation. We read from the Torah week after week, and we return to this week’s portion with new eyes. We celebrate the same holidays, the same traditions, sing the same prayers, and gather in the same building. With this theme, we challenged ourselves to take the “old” and make it new. We do this through creative new programming, using new spaces, finding new partners, and worshipping with new music and liturgy.

Making the old new was easy for us, and I want to give you the best example of how we made the “new sacred.” This year, with a group of devoted KI congregants (my KItchen cabinet), we introduced “The KItchen.” The KItchen offers programming that provides the right ingredients to nourish mind, body and spirit. We create community – infusing Jewish traditions and spirituality into all we do. We bridge divides and set the table to welcome all who hunger for nutrition, wellness and belonging.

In order to create “The KItchen,” we began by cleaning the kitchen, adding beautiful touches, and introducing programming. We brought the “sacred” in when we built community, had conversations, and learned together. Most recently holiness came into “The KItchen” with the work of Rita Rosen Poley, our Temple Judea Museum Curator, and the Artists’ Collaborative who created paintings, mosaics, stained glass, collages; digital images and photographs to celebrate my 20th anniversary (Click Here). Their works relate to Judaism as a food-centric religion and culture. From the time of the Bible, food has been revered and celebrated in our sacred ceremonies, traditions and folk culture.

I invite you to be in this embrace of holiness on Friday night. Step into our Kitchen and our Museum. Truly experience how the old became holy though the work of our artists. I am truly thankful for this tribute in art and the meaning it brings to my heart.

The challenge of making the old new, is an exercise in finding the sacred in our lives. I am so thankful for this opportunity to reflect on the illumination of the holiness we’ve created together through 20 years. My work at KI is just beginning, and I can’t wait for our many years to come. See you this weekend!