October 2020 Bulletin Ref1

From Our President…

It has certainly been a memorable holiday season, and hopefully one with spiritual meaning and renewal for all of us. As we move into the fall, we residents of the Northeast savor the beauty of the season. As you read this, some of us will have taken our first cautious steps back toward in-person gatherings and others might be planning to attend upcoming events. Still, we remain primarily in our virtual space, which for many of us has become a real community in which we gather for worship, learning, and other events.

Many of us also look toward a fall season in which we will continue in our own ways to do the work of Tikkun Olam. Members of our congregation are participating in political work as Election Day nears (and for those of us voting by mail, may already be here!). We work for racial justice, calling attention to the inequities and wrongful uses of state power against people of color and looking for solutions. We also remain mindful of the dangers of anti-Semitism, particularly in a time when too many Americans, including those in or seeking positions of public authority, embrace and amplify dangerous conspiracy theories. But we’re also turning inward to think about our congregation and the future we want to build.

I’m grateful to the Rabbinic Search Committee for their work in helping us to better understand ourselves. I’m also grateful to the many members and friends of B’nai Sholom who participated in the Search Committee’s focus groups in winter and early spring of 2020 and more recently responded to the survey. We are learning that, while much of how we see ourselves as a Reform congregation isn’t all that surprising, we do understand ourselves to be a distinctive congregation with a real purpose in the Capital Region. As we go forward, the Search Committee will use the information gained from these exercises to build our profile in a way to attract a strong set of applicants for our rabbinic position and then to think about how to prioritize applicants.

We are also learning more about our individual capacities through the Moments program and will be thinking about ways that we as a congregation can weave these notes together harmoniously. We hope through this program to increase our collective capacity to work on the things that matter most to us, helping both individuals and our congregation to strengthen our sense of purpose in the community. This engagement, I believe, will also help us to put our best foot forward for rabbinic candidates.

As we begin the new year as individuals and as a congregation, we face unprecedented challenges and uncertainties from the environment around us. It’s important to remember, however, that we have come so far and adapted to so much already.  I’m thus confident that we will meet these challenges with optimism and energy, working together to imagine and build the future we want.

Shanah Tovah!

Julie Novkov

B'nai Sholom Albany NY