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Greetings to all of you. As the summer comes to a close, some of us are back at work, others are still dangling their feet in the lake, and yet others are in the midst of back to school preparations – it’s that time of year. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Days of Awe and the important holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah that follow.

In light of recent occurrences in Canada, the USA, and Jerusalem, I’d like to give you an excerpt from a URJ interview with Elie Wiesel in 2005:
“How, despite your disappointment and bouts of pessimism, have you been able to cling to hopefulness?

One must wager on the future. I believe it is possible, in spite of everything, to believe in friendship in a world without friendship, and even to believe in God in a world where there has been an eclipse of God’s face. Above all, we must not give in to cynicism. To save the life of a single child, no effort is too much. To make a tired old man smile is to perform an essential task. To defeat injustice and misfortune, if only for one instant, for a single victim, is to invent a new reason to hope.

Just as despair can be given to me only by another human being, so too can hope can be given to me only by another human being. Peace is our gift to each other. For the sake of our children and theirs, I pray that we are worthy of that hope, of that redemption, and some measure of peace.
Do you still have faith in God as the ultimate redeemer?

I would be within my rights to give up faith in God, and I could invoke six million reasons to justify such a decision. But I don’t.
I am incapable of straying from the path charted by my fathers and forefathers, who felt duty-bound to live for God. Without the faith of my ancestors, my own faith in humanity would be diminished. So my faith, wounded as it is, endures.”

So my friends, we continue to live our lives while keeping in mind that we can make a difference in the world every day: by striving to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves; by standing up for justice and against hate; and for doing our best to repair the world Tikkun Olam.

When we come together as a community we can enlighten and encourage each other, as well as provide physical and spiritual sustenance to those around us. I look forward to seeing you at the High Holy Days, and throughout the year at Temple Shalom: a welcoming, dynamic community that lives Judaism.

L'Shana Tovah u'Metukah I wish you a good and sweet year. Linda Freed.

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Torah Commentary