We are faith leaders representing many different traditions and congregations who seek to promote understanding, dialogue, and common purpose in our community. This space offers members of our association an opportunity to share reflections with the broader community. The writings represent our individual views, not the positions of the Association or of our respective congregations. We aim to model dialogue that welcomes a diversity of ideas and perspectives grounded in friendship and respect.
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A thought on two unrelated astronomical occurrences
1) This coming Sunday will be the earliest sunset in
2019.This notion is confusing and I
have had several people tell me it makes no sense because it is not the
shortest day of the year. But it is true, the earliest sunset comes before the
solstice. (And the latest sunrise comes after the solstice. Here’s a good
As I am not a morning person, it is the later sunsets that
matter most to me. Knowing that the night darkness will begin later each day, if
only by seconds, cheers me. I am better able to embrace the winter, appreciate
all four seasons, when I know we will begin to have light later into the day.
2) Last week, as I was coming home from late-day errands,
noting how early it was for it to be dark, one car at a shopping center exit
was insistently coming into the flow of traffic, although we on the roadway
were moving steadily. Not wanting to hit that car, I ignored the beeping behind
me and stopped to let the car into the lane.
That pause allowed me a greater reward than avoiding an
accident.As I came around the next
curve, I was in the perfect position, which I surely would not have been had I
not stopped for the insistent driver, to see right in front of me, seemingly
just a bit out of reach, sudden, unexpected, intense: a shooting star.
Joy shot through me. A fleeting sight of the brilliance and
it was gone. And I have only to call it up in my mind’s eye and feel that
joyous thrill again.
So my thought that connects these two occurrences?
The predictability of the changing of the daylight, round
the whole of the year, year after year, steadies us and lets us plan, lets us
know, more or less, what’s coming and when.
And the unpredictability of a sudden natural phenomenon
gives us the reminder that we don’t know all that is coming and that joy can
jump right in front of us with no warning.
No matter whether they happen in the sky or on the ground or
in the heart, having both is essential.
One of the most popular features on a local newscast of a small TV station is something rather surprising. It is a feature called- “The Day of the Week”. Today is…….. Monday! The station put forth this as a kind of joke at first, but it was so popular that it became a regular daily addition to the morning newscast. Apparently, so many of us have lost track of what day it is that we need a reminder. During this stay-at-home time, every day seems to blend into the next. It is truly difficult to remember how many days we have all been quarantined at home, what the date is and what day of the week it is. Many of us have a few markers that help- jobs that pause for the weekend, celebrations of Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays- special days of worship. But even with these, the days seem to bleed into each other like a striped shirt washed in hot water. The period that we are in right now in the Jewish calendar is ironically, a time of counting. A time when we purposely try to keep
I was riding the subway with my husband. We were headed towards Penn Station, returning home after seeing a Broadway show in Manhattan. It was rush hour, the subway was crowded and I was lucky to get one of the last seats. It was amazingly quiet for such a crowded car. Most people were looking at their phones or listening to a device. There were quite a few pairs of wireless earphones on people. Their heads nodded slightly to the beat of noiseless music, or their eyes glazed over as a mystery book played in their ears. There was a rich variety of humanity on that single car- multiple ages, ethnicities, races, ages and income levels. I marveled at the diversity and the peaceful coexistence in this tiny piece of New York City. My eyes glanced over to the man sitting next to me. He was holding a book and reading it very intently. Reading an actual book is a relatively rare occurrence these days, but what truly caught my attention was the unusual prin
Compassion On the radio a few days ago there was a piece about refugees arriving by boat to the shores of a country that in the past had been welcoming, but this time people were yelling angrily and running into the water to block the boats from landing. The boats were full and there were children on board. The turmoil and anger in the crowd was audible. I don’t speak their language, but the reporter said that people blocking the boats were shouting “Go back home. We don’t care about the babies.” I was repulsed. I could not stop thinking about it. “We don’t care about the babies.” What would it take for me to say that? For my friends to say that? My neighbors? Horrible thought, that people I know might be moved to yell at desperate people “We don’t care about the babies.” I started to ask myself how that could happen, what it would feel like to push away needy people and shout “I don’t care about the babies.” Please don’t stop reading when I tell you that suddenly my hea