A Thanksgiving Greeting 2017
Where has the time gone? It is already Thanksgiving – a holiday that I think of as a comma or semi-colon that is much needed by all of us. We were blessed with a beautiful stretch of Fall weather that extended the summer and helped make our busy schedules a little more enjoyable over the past couple of months since the High Holy Days. But now, as the temperatures grow colder, and the amount of light diminishes with each passing day, we take pause; we wind down from the rigors of work and school and enjoy some time with family and friends.
Thanksgiving is really the quintessential American celebration: one in which unity is emphasized, freedom of religion is taken to heart, and coming together as Americans supersedes any religious, cultural or ethnic differences that exist among us. Each year, Thanksgiving comes to remind us that our country was established upon the foundation of religious liberty, and that these hard-won freedoms must continue to be a priority for us today. Thanksgiving calls upon us to work on behalf of others so that all human beings can live peacefully and in community according to their personal preferences and practices.
For Jews, expressions of thanks are not limited to a specific date or time. Rather, in accordance with the well-known Jewish principle “Tov L’hodot…it is good to give thanks,” Jews are expected to give thanks several times a day as part of both individual and communal prayer. In fact, every moment of one’s life offers opportunity for giving thanks – to one another and to God. In Judaism, the act of giving thanks is beneficial to one’s mind, body and soul. We are encouraged to say one hundred blessings a day so that we actively acknowledge our good fortune as human beings and demonstrate gratitude for the everyday miracles of life. The familiar refrain in Jewish prayer, “Modim anachnu lach…We give thanks to You, God” are the words that are used to introduce many of our expressions of Thanksgiving; however, it is only when we enact these words and turn them into actions that our thankfulness has the power to change us and improve the world.
We are most authentically thankful when we move beyond our own selves and our own families and resolve to improve the quality of life for those in need. This Thanksgiving week, I hope that you and your families enjoy one another and have the chance to reflect on all your blessings. In addition, I hope that you and your family will discuss ways that will lead you to share your blessings with others. Congregation B’nai Torah has so many excellent ways involve yourself in gemilut chasadim -- deeds of lovingkindness and social justice. Our Social Action Committee, led by co-Chairs Robert and Tammy Weiser, have a full array of activities and projects throughout the calendar year. Click here to see a listing and description of these initiatives on our CBT website.
At this time, I encourage you to consider:
- Contributing to our ongoing participation in the JF&CS Family Table food collection program. This year, CBT members are being asked to collect healthy vegetarian soups and/or Kosher low-sodium crackers, and to place these items in the Family Table Box, located in the synagogue lobby.
- Purchasing winter children’s clothing items through Cradles to Crayons. Full directions as to the specific winter clothing items to be collected are forthcoming in the upcoming weeks. Collection bins will be labeled and available in the synagogue lobby.
- NEW!!! Signing up to participate in our newest social action project with the Pearl Street Cupboard and Café in Framingham. The Pearl Street Cupboard & Café prepares and serves meals to those who may not otherwise have access to food. Moreover, Pearl Street relies on volunteers to serve their patrons. Beginning on the second Thursday of January (January 11), and continuing monthly on subsequent second Thursdays of each month, CBT will have the opportunity to send 10 volunteers to the Pearl Street Cupboard and Café to "wait" on tables (serve and clear a 3 course meal). Inspired and coordinated by Danyel Rodgers who has volunteered at Pearl Street with her family, this terrific opportunity for hands-on work can be done with another family and/or with friends at CBT. Details about this new initiative and a schedule were included in a special emailing that was sent to CBT members yesterday, Tuesday, November 22. Full program details, including directions for the sign-up process through “Sign-Up Genius,” will be included in the CBT weekly email bulletin and will be posted on the CBT website in the upcoming week.
Of course, if you have any questions about any of these opportunities or others, please do not hesitate to contact me [email protected].
“Tov L’hodot…it is good to give thanks!” In this beautiful season of gratitude and giving, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
Rabbi Lisa Eiduson