Staff Meetings and Shecheyanu

The last few days have been a whirlwind.  Between joining daily minyan, meeting everyone I possibly can, getting the house in order,  I have been all over the place.  Yet amidst the chaos, there is a calm.  Minyan has been a blessing, time for regular prayer is so powerful.  In a time when I could be so stressed, instead I have found peace.  We have found a home here.  I know this is a honeymoon, yet it does not change that the people at CBI have been incredible.  From feeding me and my daughter, sharing furniture, tools, and even helping me pick up a new chair from Home Depot, I have felt so loved and cared for.  There are so many warm people here (and great cooks, too). 

Ema, Abba did my hair today!

Today I was so happy to welcome USY On Wheels East.  It was a joy to spend time with my incredible nephew, to see the young man he is becoming.  He is truly a mentsch and chose to sit with me and tell me all about his incredible summer!  I saw photos from all across the east coast and even Toronto!  While we were talking, one of the counselors was finding Torah readers and Shabbat daveners.  It is wonderful that our teens can travel the country, keep kosher and participate in daily prayer.  It was wonderful to finally meet the Hanegev Regional Youth Director, Stephanie Nichol.  I love her facebook page, so it was a real pleasure to meet her in person.  What was also incredible was the work of my CBI volunteers and incredible staff.  With less than 24 hours of real planning, we had pizzas bought, cooked, healthy snacks out and tables set.  It is amazing to be part of a great team, which leads me to:

This morning was my Shecheyanu Staff Meeting.  Getting to know the people that make my shul tick was a blessing.  Seeing how very different people not only work together, but strive for common goals and a common mission is inspiring.  I am so glad that I can help keep this spirit, push for more mission and vision-driven work, inspire and teach with these amazing people.

While it is not yet Tisha B'Av, for rabbis the high holiday season is in full swing.  Today included a great meeting on that subject--as well as a brief visit to where I heard about some great educational ideas and plans.  If you are looking for some summer reading, check out:
You will not look at this time of year the same!  In many ways, the journey to Rosh Hashanah starts NOW!

In many ways, the work I am doing now is about teshuvah.  While we frequently hear teshuvah as repentance, the root is actually from the word returning, about renewing ourselves to our best selves.  As I begin in this new (to me) community, I am trying to return my soul to its best self.  I am trying to inspire those around me to renew their souls, to (re)build themselves up and thus to (re)build the community.  Through our shared joy, through our shared hope, through our shared building, the years to come will be filled with blessing.