We are affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the association of Conservative congregations in North America.
To write an article almost a month in advance when so much goes on within our temple is very difficult. I don’t want you to get bored reading the same stuff every month, so I will begin with a true story and the location, of course, is Benin, Africa. Hopefully, you will see a connection.
One day, Megan decided to visit her host family in her village and she brought along her dog, Winston, who walks next to Megan without a leash. Her host family is more “well off” than most and some members of this family speak French, so Megan feels less lonely when she visits them. They sit and chat and share food with each other.
When Megan was about to return home after a visit, she noticed Winston had a feather in his mouth. Megan knew her dog and the host family dog were playing outside, jumping and running after all the animals around the house. A neighbor walking around noticed a dead “guinea fowl” (what exactly is that?), picked it up to show Megan and then announced “it was your dog that killed the guinea fowl”. Megan later talked to another friend about how to handle the situation, and her friend adamantly said that she had to pay for the dead guinea fowl. Megan accepted this person’s rationale and apologized to the family and said she would return with whatever money they wanted. She was told to speak to the “man of the house” who wasn’t home that day.
When she returned to the house, she pleaded with them to accept her apology and to let her pay for the guinea fowl, because Megan did not want to lose their friendship. The host family decided Megan was not at fault because it was her dog that killed their animal and not herself. They refused to take any money from Megan, but created a new rule. If Megan wanted to return with her dog he had to be on a leash.
Why am I telling you this story? A few things resonate with me. First, Megan really thought her friendship and her dog would not be welcome at this family’s house anymore because of their reaction to their dead animal.
They forgave her, but not her dog, therefore instating the new leash rule. Second, Megan accepted the family decision because she still wants to “belong” and continue her friendship. Third, I think the family came to a very good compromise, knowing how Megan felt about her dog. They also wanted to continue to see Megan, but set boundaries.
This year, our congregation faces many challenges ahead and I have faith we can work together to compro- mise and change, if necessary. Our High Holiday committee has updated our policies and guest ticket pric- es, we interviewed some guest Rabbi’s, we will continue with renovation projects and the Rabbi Search com- mittee, we created a task force to meet and discuss our Hebrew school future and how to attract younger families, and our temple has become re-involved with the Interfaith Clergy Council.
With all of these challenges and new events, your participation is important! Please join us on Sunday, No- vember 24th, 2013 at Grace Episcopal Church at 7:00 pm for the Interfaith Thanksgiving worship program. Also, our first Congregation meeting of the year is on Thursday, December 19, 2013 and I invite all congre- gants to voice your opinions, ideas, and concerns.
This month is especially noteworthy because of the two major holidays that are happening. Both Chanukah and Thanksgiving are on November 28th. Besides eating latkes, playing dreidel, and exchanging gifts, Cha- nukah signifies dedication and rededication. We remember how a small group of people defeated the Assyri- an-Greek army to reclaim their homeland and reestablish Jewish religious practices. The Holy Temple was reclaimed and by working hard, they cleaned and refurbished the temple in order to rededicate it for what it stood for. It was a miracle that the oil burned for eight days, but more importantly, how the Jewish people dedicated their lives for religious freedom. Now our congregation must rededicate ourselves by creating a future for our synagogue.
Thanksgiving is a time to help those less fortunate. It is also a time for family gatherings, watching football, and eating too much food.
From my family to yours, enjoy both festivities and hug (or Skype) your loved ones.