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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 9/25/2020

Excerpt from my RH Evening sermon, “Recognizing Goodness”:

This night of Rosh Hashanah, we could focus on what we are missing. But let us counterbalance and even outweigh what we are lacking by giving thanks for all those who uplift our hearts. There is a concept in Judaism called HaKarat HaTov, of recognizing goodness and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives. So I call upon you to lift up Hakarat Hatov this evening of Rosh Hashanah.

Hakarat HaTov, let us give thanks for Temple Beth Torah, where we build together a spiritual home. Here we create a sacred space where we are nurtured and supported.

Hakarat HaTov, in gratitude to our belonging to this spiritual home, we affirm that we are not alone, adrift in a world without meaning. Instead, enveloped in song, uplifted by prayer, we enter the New Year ready to dedicate ourselves anew to timeless truths…

Hakarat HaTov, in gratitude we fulfill the mandate to seek wisdom, pursue justice, and walk humbly with God.

Excerpt from my RH Morning sermon, “Living with Faith”:

So, to return to Charles Dickens, do I believe we are living in the best of times? Certainly not. But it is not enough to acknowledge how bad things are. The challenge for us on this morning of Rosh Hashanah is to ask: how do we find strength to face the multitude of challenges? 

The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind. The answer lies in our faith in ourselves. Not faith in God. But faith in ourselves.

Perhaps you were expecting me to say that we should place our faith in a higher power. After all, is not God the Master of the Universe, Creator of All Things? Is it not to God that we turn throughout our High Holy Days to hear our prayers and to respond to our pleas?

I do not deny these assertions. But again, I do not think we should rely on God to get us through tough times. It is up to us, created in God’s image, to do God’s work on earth. …..

I believe in our essential goodness. That is the essence of faith. Emunah, faith, is to be strong even in the face of daunting challenges. Emunah, faith, is to reach out our hands to support one another. Emunah, faith, is to believe that we each have a responsibility to practice deeds of loving kindness, to be God’s partners in bringing forth tikkun olam, repair to our fractured world. 

Rabbi Schulman’s Rosh Hashanah sermons can be read here.


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