By Liraz Levi, Community Shaliach (Israel Emissary)
This amazing season that I’m so torn about is again here! On one hand, it’s getting colder outside which I can’t stand, but on the other hand, I just want to be in nature as much as I can because the colors are so beautiful and unique. I guess most of you know the joke about Israel, that we have only two seasons: summer and winter. So experiencing autumn is something special for me.
Speaking of special occasions, we made it and we’re finally through the High Holidays! The month that weaves together a celebration for a new year, judgment day and a long fast, and sleeping and eating for a week under branches of a tree, is over. During that busy month I went on the annual tour – my Spectacular High Holidays Tour – and took the time to travel around to the different congregations and participate in services, saying a prayer or giving a D’var. Hope you didn’t miss my visit!
Doing that, I realized how welcome I am in each place and how familiar I am with the congregation members. It’s funny to say, but I felt “at home” in each and every different synagogue. Comparing it to last year, I’m remembering how odd I felt in each place, not knowing anyone, unlike this year when I actually sat next to people I knew every time. Overall, my High Holiday experience in Rockland was extremely positive, reflecting on the fact that I’m feeling like part of the community now.
Right after the High Holidays it was time for me to start working with Rockland’s different Jewish organizations. Last week I had the chance to run seven different programs, which is an easy week for me. I was in three different Hebrew schools, I ran a lecture, and I held a discussion after watching an Israeli movie. I had a program working with toddlers, and on Friday night I even had a chance to visit another congregation!
Earlier this month we remembered the annual day of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and with the elections ending today – bringing a new president for America – I’m hopeful that we can once again take in the calm and peaceful environment of autumn, and be thankful for the things we have, instead of focusing on the negative. It’s a new era for Israel and all the world and, with a new U.S. president (whoever it’ll be), I hope we can march together toward a brighter and better future.