Thursday, September 29, 2016

Remember... Rosh HaShanah poem?
(You thought I was going to say “Jerusalem”, right? Well, there. I just did!) Frankly, I’d almost forgotten about it myself. (The poem, that is. Jerusalem, never!) Even with the addition of a new stanza each year for so many years, I thought it was getting “old” so I retired it after Rosh HaShanah 5774. But something made me remember it this year – perhaps the fact that another Rosh HaShanah was fast approaching and, with all the excitement in our lives this summer, I hadn’t given a thought to a blog post. Or maybe it's that I don't have any new material to Remember Jerusalem with. (There, I said it again!) Must plan a trip... Anyway, when I went back and re-read the poem, I realized how much I’ve missed it. Sure, it has more meaning to me than to most – being that it’s based on my personal experiences of each year past – but I’m bringing it back (with a new stanza for the new year, of course) in the hope you will find a bit of inspiration in it. Or at least just enjoy our recently updated family photo and our warmest new year wishes below.

Rosh HaShanah 5777 
We ponder again the year in review;
what was accomplished, what's still left to do. 
Looking back, we can count all the ways we've been blessed
and assess how we've scored on G-d's many tests.

So many should’ves and could’ves but didn’t. 
Surely I would’ve if my heart had been in it. 
No more excuses! Or at least not as many. 
Gotta work hard to make hardly any…

What have I learned in the year that has passed? 
That no two people will take the same path.
Be it highway or foot bridge, a road lies ahead. Walk yours with G-d, King Solomon said.

Our heartfelt prayers and beloved traditions
see us through challenges and transitions. 
From day to day, from year to year, our faith and our trust calm every fear.

The years come and go in the circle game. 
Events ever-changing; the cycle, the same. 
Like wood being shaped by the artisan's lathe, 
we marvel at eych ha'galgal mistoveyv.

How do I even begin to say
thank you for all that You’ve sent our way?
For the obvious blessings; the hidden ones, too,
gently prodding me to reach out to You.

We'll begin a new calendar, start a clean slate,
fill it with good deeds and character traits;
with memorable moments and meaningful days, 
months full of emulating G-d’s holy ways.

Yomuledet Sameyach! Congratulations, dear Earth,
on the 5,777th year since your birth. What shall we wish you on your special day? 
Global peace. Gentle weather. Prosperity...

Soon the air will turn brisk; the foliage, bright.
First, the table we'll set and the candles we'll light.
The challahs are baked; the honey dish glistens.
The shofar will blow; to its call we will listen. 

Ripe pomegranates bursting with seeds

remind G-d of our merits, not our misdeeds.
The angels are ready to plead every case to the Almighty King Whose judgment we'll face.

May He grant us good health and joy that is true, 
contentment and nachas and simchas "by you". 
Let this be the year that He takes our hands and leads us back Home to our holy Land.

May we all exercise our right to return
to our Source, to our Land, to the lessons we learn
from our Torah, the treasure that keeps us alive
as we wait for Mashiach, soon to arrive.

Now we are ready, the holiday's here.
May it be the start of a wonderful year.
As we don our finest, it is so nice to know
that for Rosh HaShanah
we're all Good to Go!

With Every Blessing to You and Yours in 5777 and Beyond
(standing l to r): Rachel and Berel, Zevy, Gedalia and Shani, Simcha, Yoel and Yael
Bill and Yours Truly

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thinking Beyond...

Ahhh, the gamut of emotions.

Today is the 13th Hebrew anniversary of our return to the States. Tonight we begin the month of Av and "Nine Days" of mourning the destruction of our Bais HaMikdash (the holy Temple in Jerusalem) which will culminate on Tisha b'Av (observed this year on Sunday, August 14). And in three weeks from today, Bill and I, with G-d's help, will escort our dear daughter to her chuppah...

As most of you have already been blessed to know (may the rest of you have the pleasure soon), there's lots to do in preparation for a wedding. And much of it is in stark contrast to the customs of this period on the Jewish calendar. 

Generally, we do not buy new clothing during these weeks of mourning - but our bride needs stuff to wear! We do not listen to music - but my sons need to practice the songs they will be singing during the ceremony! We tone down our "happiness" - but for us, this should be one of the happiest times of our lives! What to do? 

When Shani called our rabbi to ask that very question, he answered her so beautifully. He explained that even though we are in the midst of a period of mourning, the home that she and her future husband are preparing to build will be a mikdash m'aht - a mini-Temple, so to speak - and a brick in the building of the Third and Eternal Bais HaMikdash. Therefore, she can go ahead and do whatever must be done to prepare for her wedding and to set up their apartment.

I can't extend that concept to other areas without consulting a higher authority but the message seems to be that the flip side of mourning for what we lost is looking ahead to the splendor and glory that is yet to come. 

So I'm thinking beyond...
Beyond the sadness that Tisha b'Av will generate.
Beyond the national and individual trials and tribulations of life without the Bais HaMikdash.
Beyond my personal longing to be back Home...
and concentrating instead of the redemption that awaits us in the not-too-distant future. 

Soon, please G-d, I will again Remember Jerusalem "Above My Greatest Joy" as Shani and Gedalia stand beneath their chuppah. It's scheduled to take place here in the U.S. of A. but in the weeks and days ahead, I'll be praying that...

...the venue will change, last minute, to our holy Land
with all of you present. Won’t that be grand?
We'll see everyone then, b'ezras Hashem,
in a peaceful, rebuilt Jerusalem.

Friday, April 22, 2016

See You On The Other Side...!

...In a Safe, Peaceful, Rebuilt 
and Forever Joyful Jerusalem. 
(No, this is not MY Seder table!)

Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameyach!

Sharon, Bill and the Galkinder