20 September 2019
In a few weeks, soon after we welcome the Jewish New Year, we will scroll to the very beginning of the Torah and read about the story of creation. We will read about all that God accomplished in six days and, notably, about what God did not. As the story goes, God left creation unfinished so that we might take up the work and complete the act of creation ourselves.
I am proud to say that here in Greater Washington, our community has done an incredible job of living up to this task. Over the past year, thousands of people have come together to build community and be part of creating a better future for us all.
People have taken it upon themselves to raise funds and participate in service projects to help others in need. Professionals and volunteers have worked overtime to bring new programs to life. Leaders have stepped up to serve as board members and advisors. Individuals have reached out to those in search of company. People have gathered after work—braving traffic and weather—to talk about issues that matter. And many of us have made a point of being there for each other in times of joy, tragedy, and hardship.
Taken together, these and many other countless acts have created a truly vibrant community. When people ask me about the Jewish community of Greater Washington, I say that this is a community that cares about each other and about working in common purpose to strengthen Jewish life locally, in Israel, and around the world.
We should rest and rejoice in all that we have accomplished. But this is also a time to take stock and rededicate ourselves to the work that is not yet finished. By design, the Jewish calendar compels us to look to the future with fresh eyes and consider the ways we can continue working together to build the future we envision.
I find it particularly poignant that the Torah implies creation to be an ongoing task. I hope that we draw inspiration from the idea that as Jews, we are responsible for continuing this holy work.
Indeed, we are responsible for helping more people connect and feel cared for. We are responsible for helping new generations discover purpose and meaning in Jewish identity. We are responsible for recognizing the good in each other and working each day to bring good into the world. As ever, we are responsible for turning darkness into light.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to building our community and who continues to be part of our collective efforts to strengthen Jewish life. I have no doubt that our best days are ahead of us.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year,