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Rabbi's Message

אֵי ־מִזֶּה בָאת וְאָנָה תֵלֵכִי

Whence have you come and where are you
going?   — Genesis 16:

This question, posed by an angel to Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden, after she has fled from Sarah into the wilderness, speaks to the core of our identity. I believe this is the fundamental question every rabbi, synagogue and congregant should explore together. It asks us to examine our background, our upbringing, our prior experiences and how we want to shape our lives. In my rabbinate, I work to build a sacred community where together congregants can discover and reveal their true selves, enriched by their diverse life experiences and the intellectual adventure of Jewish wisdom and learning.
My vision of the synagogue is the place to bring our true selves and explore the spiritual dimension of our lives. I am also aware that congregants live full and rich lives outside of the synagogue. Part of my role as a rabbi is to show how Jewish wisdom can nourish a congregant beyond synagogue walls and permeate our everyday interactions. In my teaching, I seek connections between living tradition and contemporary lives. For example, a Jewish person is considered


metzuveh, responsible for fulfilling the covenant between God and the people Israel by doing mitzvot, ritual and ethical actions, according to one’s capacity. As older congregants age or face disability, the Jewish state of being metzuveh reassures them that they are not invisible or irrelevant. Every Jewish person always and forever matters and has a role to play in the community and with God. Nourishing one’s true self both in and out of the synagogue speaks to my inclusive and broad understanding of Jewish community. Having grown up in an interfaith household with a Catholic Hispanic father who later converted to Judaism, I understand the power of a welcoming rabbi and congregation in creating a Jewish family and the complexity and diversity of Jewish journeys. I honor the life experience a person brings when entering a synagogue, and I have sought out opportunities to learn about other religions to better understand the background of those coming from other faiths.

In revealing our true selves, we come into relationship not only with each other, but with God. In response to the angel’s prophecy, Hagar names God, the Living One Who Sees Me. (Genesis 16:13-14). When we create a sacred community that sees each person’s worth, respects our diverse spiritual paths, and deepens Judaism in our lives, we mirror God, the Living One Who Sees Us."

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Sat, December 3 2022 9 Kislev 5783