Rabbi’s Message: Jan. 1, 2015

Celebrating the True You

Emet – eiytz hahaim,mimenu tokhelkol y’mey chaiyecha / Truth is the tree of life, you shall eat from it all the days of your life.
Sefer HaHinukh

Emet me’eretz titzmach / Truth will blossom from the earth.
Tehillim (Psalms) 75:12

L’olam y’hyeh adam Samayach b’chelko,v’az y’hyeh naeh u’maasav na’im/ When a person is happy with who he is [literally his portion], then his days are pleasant and his actions are pleasant.
Midrash Olam

Flamin’eyes of people fear burnin’ into you
Many men are missin’ much, hatin’ what they do
Youth and truth are makin’ love, dig it for a starter, now
Dyin’ young is hard to take, sellin’ out is harder

Thank you falettineme be mice elf agin
I want to thank you falettineme be mice elf agin
Thank you falettineme be mice elf agin
Thank you falettineme be mice elf agin….
“Thank you (Falettineme Be Mice Elf Agin)” – A reverse mondegreen for “for letting me be myself again,” by Sylvester Stewart (Sly Stone)


A few weeks ago in December we enjoyed our successful adults only, comedy/music jam night. Yasher koach to Paul Steinberg who came up with the idea and told a cornucopia of ribald knee slappers and noodled along with his favorite recorded tunes on his bass guitar before I joined him with my guitar in a bit of improvisational jamming. Just about everyone present participated, telling corny or off-color Borscht Belt style jokes. I stood up in front of the crowd and dressed as Kinky Friedman, in cowboy boots and hat, sang a couple of Kinky’s irreverent ditties, “They Ain’t Makin’Jews Like Jesus Anymore” and “Git Yer Biscuits in the Oven and Yer Buns in the Bed.” I also had the opportunity to tell a couple of the aforementioned slightly off-color Borscht Belt style jokes. In general, we all yucked it up to the max. Everyone reading this is familiar with my informal and jocular style of “rabbi ing.” You have all seen me before in costume for Purim and the Pesach Seder. However, my participation in the comedy night was for me a first as a rabbi, to be able to just have fun with my congregation, in such an informal way, to not be in only rabbi mode, but to just be myself.

I see it as a wonderful development that we as a congregation are so comfortable celebrating being ourselves. No longer do people pretend to be “more observant” than they really are. People no longer drive to Shul parking a couple of blocks away pretending to walk to Shul in an effort to avoid condemnation. Shul attendance is only a positive with nothing to hide. Congregants share their interests and beliefs and what they enjoy doing without fear of being shamed. Those who have gay and lesbian children can openly share their children’s Simchas and achievements with friends who celebrate their happiness with them. We’ve come a long way in 5½ years.

As Jews we get to enjoy two New Year’s celebrations. So let’s make a New Year’s resolution to continue to expand our celebration of who we are and celebrate each other’s true selves and create more enjoyable events together this year.

B’Shalom, Happy 2015!


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