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Jewish Every Day

Rabbi Micah Streiffer

Jewish Every Day

 

As an aspiring Canadian, I’ve learned that weather is really important. We talk about it. Complain about it. Worry about it. It determines our activities: If you want to go sledding you need enough snow; it’s hard to skate when the temperature is above freezing.

 

That’s why we look forward to this time of year when the sun shines, the weather is warm, and the outdoors beckon. When I first moved here, I was amazed by Toronto’s Cottage Culture: the fact that so many people skip town on weekends and find places to enjoy the great outdoors. Even for those of us who don’t have cottages, there are festivals, concerts, and ample opportunities to enjoy being outside while still in the city. You have to enjoy it while you’ve got it!

 

In some ways, therefore, synagogue life slows down a bit in the summer, since so many people are out of town and there are so many other options. But Judaism doesn’t slow down; Judaism is with us every day.

 

Our Jewish tradition teaches us to spend each day cultivating a sense of appreciation, a sense that the world around us is a gift. When we see a thing of natural beauty, we are traditionally supposed to say a blessing:

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁכָּֽכָה לּוֹ בְּעוֹלָמוֹ.

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha-olam, sheh-kachah lo b’olamo.

Blessed are you, Eternal God, whose world contains such a thing!

 

It is a statement of awe and thankfulness, an attempt to see the world as a blessing, and an act of mindfulness – of being in the moment.

 

This summer we will experience many beautiful things: cool breezes, pretty sunsets, and moments of connection with friends and family. May we remember that these are not only nice moments; they are holy moments. Whether or not we say a blessing, our Jewish sense of appreciation can be with us all the time.

 

Meanwhile, synagogue life continues here at Kol Ami. Over the summer, Shabbat morning Torah Study and services continue (with a slightly altered schedule). Friday night services will be held four times (July 2 and 20, August 10 and 24) in people’s homes, followed by a potluck dinner. And, of course, we can’t live without Sushi & Study.

 

I look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks, or to catching up about our travels when fall hits. Have a wonderful summer.

 

L’shalom,

Rabbi Micah Streiffer

 

Fri, March 22 2019 15 Adar II 5779