Second Day

Have you ever seen a pineapple grow?  It is a rather strange sight, yet oddly beautiful.  Having never had the opportunity to see one before, I marveled at it when seeing one yesterday in a congregant's garden.  While we did not have much luck growing plants in Newburgh--except for a few succulents--I'm curious about starting a garden here--or at least attempting not to kill a fruit tree or three.

Starting in a new congregation is a lot like this pineapple.  We are trying to grow amidst an existent garden.  Everyone else has long standing relationships and we are new.  Yet, we know that we have much to offer.  Beneath the sometimes prickly starts, we have sweet fruit.

In the last twenty four hours, I have had so many positive experiences and interactions.  Today I was blessed to celebrate at a 90th birthday party of a remarkable woman who read her second haftorah last Shabbat.  I look forward to hearing her third soon! (hint hint)  I was able to take care of some more technical details and through the incredible work of I even have a working laptop at home.  (Much easier than blogging on an ipad!)  I have met community members from ages 1-93 and drove through an incredible Florida thunderstorm.  Truly a wonderful day.

Tomorrow is July 4.  We celebrate Independence Day and remember the struggle against tyranny.  We think of those who fought to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We know our country is imperfect and it was founded that way--the 3/5 compromise can only be described as heinous.  Yet when we look at our history, we see a country that has striven for progress.  On the backs of protestors and freedom fighters and immigrants, we have built a society whose arc bends towards justice.  Sometimes we take a step back before we move forward again, but I know that our country is one where eventually, all will have equality of opportunity.  On this July 4, I'll be celebrating the gift and the promise of this country, knowing that we will always have work to do.

I'm so happy that my incredible community Congregation B'nai Israel welcomes all, regardless of their faith at birth, gender identity, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin.  I feel blessed and look forward to opening those pineapples, sharing the sweet fruit of knowledge, and the joy of great company.