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Commitment after 40 Years

08/18/2022 02:02:28 PM


As Moses prepares the Jewish people for their entry to the Land of Israel, at the end of 40 years in the desert, he tries to balance complementary, even contradictory messages, which he presents in parashat Ekev. On the one hand he reminds them (Deut 10:22)  how they have grown, from 70 souls who descended to Egypt to becoming as numerous as the stars of the heavens). And yet, he warns them (Deut 9:17-18) that they must not imagine that their success to date has been due to their own attributes and efforts, but rather to God’s plan. At the same time, he advises them (Deut 7:12-13) that their future success will indeed be dependent on their adherence to the covenant. As we at B’nai Torah prepare to welcome the newest member of our clergy team this Shabbat, I am struck by the way that Moses’s wisdom applies to our community.

Over 40 years ago, those who founded our congregation were indeed few in number. They were young people wandering in the wilderness of out-of the-way Sandy Springs. Their biggest dream was that they would be able to afford to hire one rabbi. I continue to be grateful every day for their vision and commitment. Over the last 20 years, our congregation has flourished and bloomed in ways that our founders did not anticipate. The did not imagine that we would be a congregation of 850 families, or that people around the world would be participating in our worship and study on line. If you look at the announcements, every week our community suffers what would once have been month worth of losses and even more beautiful blessings.

I feel very blessed that we have grown a rabbinic team to guide us on this journey. When we added our first assistant rabbi 13 years ago, that was a major step for our congregation. This week, Rabbi K and I were delighted to welcome the third member of our team, Rabbi Breit, who brings incredible energy and talent and is already beginning to help our congregants connect to each other and to God. I hope that each member of our community has the chance to meet her and benefit from her gifts. Of course, I also continue to be grateful for my partnership with Rabbi K as he has grown from a passionate young educator into a seasoned  and inspiring leader.

Moses might point out to us that only a few who are part of the B’nai Torah community today can claim credit for our congregation’s past success, but as we enter a new phase of our journey, all of us are part of a covenant of responsibility to ensure that it continues. Whether it is by volunteering to help with organizational work or help others hands on, offering financial support, or just *being* here for services or study, you ensure that our community is not only capable of continuing, but worthy of doing so.

Fri, December 1 2023 18 Kislev 5784