Happy Hanukkah to all as we prepare tonight to light the fifth candle.
I had the privilege yesterday of leading a Hanukkah presentation at the Champion Assisted Living Home and I could see all of the memories dancing in the eyes of those who sat listening as I lit the candles and sang the blessings, spun the dreidle and told the story of the brave Maccabees. We share so much as Jews, with each other. Our memories all blend together into one beautiful story of hope and faith.
I pray that the true meaning of this holiday is inspiring to all.
This past month Bnai Israel was filled with an abundance of Tikkun Olam. We spent a morning of Religious school working together at the local food bank. You should have seen the kids, they worked so hard and with such pride to be doing good work in the world. It was such a beautiful sight.
I also have happy memories of Bnai Israel's first of three visits this year to the Good Shepherd where we prepared, served and cleaned up a dinner for their homeless.
Thank you to the Shelly and Steve Artin, Frances Goodfriend, Nicole Wolff Camplin, Rose Zimmer and Sylvia Atwood for your kind effort and big hearts. It was a great evening.
I am having the most wonderful time teaching 6 of our congregants how to read Hebrew as we begin the process of study towards their adult Bnai Mitzvot. Don't anyone say that you are EVER too old to learn how to read Hebrew. These women are pure INSPIRATION.
How lucky are we that we live at this time where the sacred experiences of being called to the Torah and invited to take part in the powerful spiritual center of our communities life, is now open to all Jews? How blessed are we? It is such an honor for me to be able to give this gift, this holy rite to these fine and wise women.
We are planning a Skype session in January with the Israeli tour company for our Summer 16, Israel trip. I hope that anyone still interested but unsure will attend this gathering to hear first hand of what a great trip we have waiting for us. Please call me if you are at all interested in this terrific opportunity. 864-404-6893
Friends, we have a few congregants who are wresting with some health issues but who are extremely private. In honor of them and our respect for their privacy I would ask that you say a little extra prayer for those in our congregational family who need our care, concern and healing wishes. God will deliver the love, God knows who needs it.
This Sunday the 13th at 4PM, is our Hanukkah party and so many wonderful people have helped to make it a festive and joyful evening. Be sure to join us, this is OUR party, so we all are the hosts. It is going to be great fun.
Hanukkah always invites us into a conversation about miracles. The Rebbe taught that when one connects him or herself to the mystery of God, then life takes on a deeper dimension, one that has room for what we call miracles.
When we choose to live in connectedness to God we can use our strength to live virtuously, to introduce harmony to all and to encourage the increase in goodness in our world, whereby we decrease in it's evil. That is real, it is possible and it is a miracle.
Regarding miracles there is a story that tells of a group of friends all sitting together discussing why their individual rabbis were miracle workers. One said that his rabbi performed miracles because the rabbi prayed that his wife would become pregnant and she did! Another said that his rabbi helped his son get his life back on track.
One more said that the rabbi had blessed a financial endeavor for good that ended up losing him thousands and thousands of dollars. Where's the miracle in that the others asked? The miracle the man said was that I remain faithful to God and to my rabbi even so.....
This rabbi is no miracle worker, but I believe that love is. The more we can see our world through eyes void of judgment, the clearer we will be able to see all that truly meaningful in life.
Happy Hanukkah all! I look forward to sharing a joyous party with everyone on Sunday.
Give of your light and let it shine.
Rabbi Julie Kozlow