There are two peak seasons in congregational life. Not surprisingly, the High Holy Days fit the criteria of being a time of intensified activity as we journey through the Days of Awe. From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur to Sukkot to Simchat Torah, three compact weeks incorporate a full range of spirit, reflection, and emotion.
However, there is a second high point in the rhythm of synagogue life. It is less compressed than the holy days in Tishri, however, it is nonetheless a time of increased focus. In my mind, we have already begun this period with our celebration of Purim and we will not conclude until nearly 3 months later with the holiday of Shavuot.
Purim, of course, is already in the rear view mirror (or is that a fun house mirror?). As of this date, would you believe that Passover is only three weeks away? Even with this year having two months of Adar, I still have difficulty wrapping my mind around the fact that Pesach is coming so soon. As I say year after year, this festival requires us not only to attend to multiple matters regarding arrangements for the Seder. Pesach also should prompt us to reflect on the deeper themes of slavery and freedom, oppression and liberation.
In a month’s time, we will observe the solemn day of Yom HaShoah. As we have for decades, different faith communities will gather here at Temple Beth Torah for our Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration Service. This year we will be honored to hear Jussi Rajna, father of Hugo Silverberg-Rajna, as he shares with us his memories of being a youth in Nazi occupied Hungary. The service will take place on Sunday night, May 1.
There are other events we can look forward to in the coming months. Congressman Eric Swalwell will speak at Temple on Sunday morning, April 17. I hope we have an excellent turn-out to hear him. On Friday night, May 13, we will honor both our 7th graders as well as our teachers during our Shabbat Evening Service. Midrasha’s senior graduation will take placetwo days later on May 15. Lastly, on Saturday night, June 11, corresponding to the Hebrew date of 6 Sivan, our TBT Confirmation students will join together with Beth Emek’s to lead a creative Shavuot/Confirmation service. This year it will be held here in Fremont.
I think it’s wonderful to have two peak seasons in the Jewish year. It gives a rhythm to the calendar, with programs and services that are energizing and uplifting.