Shalom. We have reached another new year on the Jewish calendar - a time of renewal, a
time for reflection. Many of us in Connecticut are fortunate to be able to celebrate this time of year in our homes and in our synagogues. But we cannot ignore the news coming from other parts of our continent, where homes and synagogues are damaged and people are taking shelter in unfamiliar places. Thankfully, the Jewish community is united in times like this, with synagogues in neighboring but safe states helping to find shelter for those who fled their homes and Jewish organizations assisting with relief efforts.
The focus on the news media is on damage to buildings. What is important about a building? Isn’t a building just a structure, with roof, floor, and walls? Can’t it just be rebuilt after a natural
disaster? But, of course, a building is much more than that. We are often attached to our homes for reasons that go beyond architecture or the materials used in its construction. Our homes are where we connect with family and friends - creating a small community within the larger one; it is where we return for rest after a weary day of work or school; it is where we dream for the future and make plans.
In Madison, we all have another house - a house of hope (Beth Tikvah). TBT also provides a community within a larger one, and where many of us go for reflection, spiritual nourishment,
and companionship. But we as a synagogue are not turned only inward, as we also examine our relationship to the outside world and strive to improve that world for Jews and non-Jews
alike. Like all households, we have rules (although these go back thousands of years), which provide a helpful structure for living a good and meaningful life. It is my hope that we all work together in the year ahead to make a difference, whether it’s in one person’s life or the world at large. If we do that, then we have taken what is made of wood and other common materials and truly made it a synagogue.