|Shanah Tovah and greetings. As my team plans for our community to gather at Caramoor and Shaaray Tefila to celebrate our High Holy Days, I’ve been reflecting on the past year, 5783. It was a year of rebirth and new beginnings for our temple – and for me. I have managed other nonprofit organizations, but running the Temple is a unique experience. To borrow from the Baal Shem Tov: “The world is new to us every morning—and every person should believe they are reborn each day.” |
This year has been a journey of growth and transformation. We have welcomed new faces into our temple family – from dedicated staff members to a talented new cantor, each bringing unique perspectives and ideas that invigorate our community. This infusion of fresh energy has resulted in new twists on programming and new tunes for familiar songs that live alongside cherished traditions.
Our temple is not merely a place of worship; it is the heart of our community. Friends have asked me, when I’ve taken a call from a member at night or on the weekend, “Was it really life-or-death?” Yes! Managing a Temple means embracing life and death in profound ways. I’ve had the privilege of sharing in the joys and sorrows of our congregants – from the joyous celebrations of birth, b’nai mitzvahs and weddings to the poignant moments of supporting families during times of loss. Whether happy or sad, we can join in the embrace of our Jewish traditions, which are as relevant and meaningful today as they were to our ancestors. Shaaray lets us celebrate the diversity within our community and embrace the shared responsibility of supporting one another through life’s ups and downs.
As a community, this year involved building relationships as well as improving the physical aspects of our community. Together, we have worked diligently to improve our facilities, ensuring that they provide an environment that fosters spiritual growth and connection. Upgrading our security systems has been a priority, as we aim to create a space where all feel welcome and secure in celebrating our faith. And we’ve built new committees, welcomed new volunteers and hosted unique concerts and world-renowned dignitaries. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of congregants who embrace Social Action, we hosted and fed non-domiciled men for a week, and served over 3,000 meals to our Westchester neighbors at Thanksgiving.
As we look forward to 5784, I will continue to learn and problem-solve, adapting to the ever-changing landscape of our temple community, while drawing inspiration from the Jewish values that define us.
In this season of renewal, may we find the strength and courage to face the challenges that lie ahead, knowing that through our unity and commitment, we can overcome any obstacle. Let us look forward to a year of continued growth, love, and compassion, as we deepen our connection to our heritage and strengthen the bonds that make us a resilient and caring Jewish community.
Shanah Tovah U’Metukah – a sweet and blessed New Year to all of you. May it be filled with abundant blessings, joy, and renewed hope.
-Howard Greenstein, August 2023