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10/21/2021 03:45:00 PM


Rabbi Ari Lucas

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back

It’s nice to be settling into the rhythms of a new Jewish year. Religious school is under way (in fact, I hear some students singing with Cantor Caplan outside my window at this very moment). We’ve already begun celebrating another class of b’nei mitzvah. Our ECC is in full swing. Our adult education program is too.

Before we completely say goodbye to the High Holy Day season, I hope you take a moment to reflect on what you learned or how you grew as a result of the Tishrei holidays this year. What insights did you gain while sitting with the mahzor in your hands? What commitments did you make to yourself, God, your family, community? How are you different because you spent those many hours in prayer and reflection? Most new year’s resolutions are abandoned within the first few weeks, so I hope you’ll take just a moment to consider how you can remain committed to your aspirations for the year ahead.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in making it all happen. If I start naming individuals, I’ll certainly leave someone out, but this was a massive effort of our staff and our volunteers. Consider the amount of preparation that is necessary to make the High Holy Days happen, you’ll realize what a massive undertaking this is every year - and especially this year when COVID restrictions make planning so complicated.  The prayers, Torah reading, music, building set up, communication, coordination, administration, music, tech, building sukkot, purchasing lulavim and etrogim, safety protocols, security and more. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to connect with so many of you and hope it sets our community off on the right foot for the year ahead.

All four of my High Holy Day sermons were recorded and are available on our website:

Looking Forward

We’re already thinking about Hanukkah with hopes that it will be a time for us to rededicate our physical synagogue space and recommit to our highest aspirations as Jews. Stay tuned for more information in the weeks to come.

Already before the pandemic, I was working with Cantor Caplan and a few members of the community to experiment and innovate in our Friday night services. Friday night is such an important spiritual time as we transition from the hustle and bustle of the week into the peace of Shabbat. In recent years, there’s also been a great deal of creative renewal across the Jewish world in the music and design of the Friday night service. I’d love to think about bringing the best of the Jewish world’s Friday night services to CAI. The pandemic has put some of those plans on hold, but I’d like to start planting some seeds for what you can expect on the other side. If you’re interested in Friday night services, send me an e-mail and I’ll keep you apprised of our plans. To that end, I’m going to try to share a new tune with you each week. If you’re inclined, try to sing along and learn the melody. Feel free to experiment with harmonies. You can play it in your home as you cook for Shabbat to get you in the mood or while you drive in your car. I’m plan to make a playlist of these songs so that you can have a Shabbat playlist and together we can build a library of tunes that will enhance our Friday night tefillot (prayers).

April 19,2024 /  11 Nisan 5784