More generally, I’ve been experiencing lots of gratitude for my family (as I write this, we’re busily preparing for Dora’s college graduation), for Vermont, and for our BAJC community. And gratitude simply for living in this Brattleboro area – one that cares so deeply about people (witness the extraordinary outpouring of support for Gary Rosen) as well as about heifers.
Nearly every week, my gratitude for our Jewish community gets reactivated. I’m still smiling about our women-led service at the end of April. Throughout that service, I kept thinking about the founders of our congregation who formulated the “Brattleboro Experiment” – the idea that instead of having a rabbi “do” Judaism for us, we would “do” Judaism ourselves. The service also called to mind the pledge we made to Rabbi Noah Kitty at her farewell service – a pledge that we would not retreat one iota from the progress toward gender equality the congregation had made under her leadership, and only move forward.
I had the same feeling of gratitude when Johnny Lee put out the call for Torah readers for Margaret Weinberg’s Bat Mitzvah, and had six volunteers within 24 hours! This is a commentary both on the literacy of our congregation and on our eagerness to share and extend that literacy.
And my gratitude was activated when we celebrated the 90th birthday of Rosalie Coven at our Friday evening service in May, and the children sat around her and listened avidly as she recalled her own childhood and spoke about some of what she’s learned since. That service made clear, if there ever was any doubt, another of our sacred principles: that we hold dear – very dear – those of us in the golden age of life, and that we never allow them to be forgotten.
Finally, on the subject of birthdays, I’m eagerly looking forward to the joint birthday celebration for Paul and myself at our Shabbat evening service on Friday June 8. And here’s my hope for that service: that our walls will be bulging at the seams, and that at least seven of us (seven is a number of mystical significance in Judaism) will come up with the idea that we need to expand our space!