A Message from our Esteemed Rabbi
When we look in the Torah, we find various words used to refer to community, such as kehilla, tzibbur, and edah. Each one conveys a unique facet of communal life, defining the very nature and goals of the collective. Perhaps the most moving description of community is found in one of my favorite works of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l, Celebrating Life (pg. 149), in which he defines community as “the human expression of Divine love. It is where I am valued simply for who I am, how I live and what I give to others. It is the place where they know my name.” At Congregation Israel, this is how we aspire to define community as well, in terms of our relationships with HaKadosh Baruch Hu and one another.”
One might wonder whether it is appropriate to gather in honor of a mikdash me’at, a synagogue, during the month of Tammuz, when we commence a three-week mourning period culminating in Tisha B’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Based on the formulation proffered by Rabbi Sacks, I think it is the ideal time to recognize the importance of kehilla, tzibbur and edah. The Talmud teaches that we lost the Temple in 70 CE due to our lack of respect, concern, and love for one another. By celebrating our community at the 46th Annual Gala Tribute Dinner, we will effect a tikun, or repair, of this massive, tragic breakdown in Jewish communal life. Moreover, we will re-dedicate ourselves to strengthening our commitments to, and appreciation of, each other and the Almighty.
On 6 Tammuz, we will honor individuals who have exemplified, and live by, the ideals of our kehilla, Ahavas Yisrael and Ahavas Hashem:
- Diane Osen Covkin & Rick Covkin, Guests of Honor, Rabbi Israel Turner Memorial Award
- Debbie & Rav Avi Shteigart, Young Leadership Award
- Marilyn Bielory, Aishet Chayil Award
- Adam Greiss, Edward Konigsberg Memorial Award
- Eva Gidalowitz, Joseph Tammam Memorial Youth Community Service Scholarship Award
May Hashem grant our honorees, their families and our entire community the merit to rejoice together at the Beis Hamikdash during the Yom Tov of Tisha B’Av, speedily in our days!!!