Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two awesome weeks in January

The new year is certainly off to a magnificent start: beginning with our trip to L'taken - the social justice advocacy and lobbying program for teens conducted by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. I was once again fortunate to take our Confirmation class (6 10th graders) to DC for this amazing experience - learning about the issues of the day, how to address them as Jews, and the chance to lobby our concerns with the offices of our U.S. senators and representatives. One highlight was to share some introductory thoughts with our students - about the importance of Jewish involvement in the public sphere, the long-standing tradition of the Reform movement's efforts to push the agenda of social justice in American politics and society, and the historic celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the RAC - while situated at JFK's grave in Arlington National Cemetery. We visited the MLK Memorial and the Holocaust Museum, held Havdalah at the Jefferson Memorial, and spent time at the Smithsonian museums...and most importantly joined together with 250+ peers from all over the country.
And yes, then there was the celebration of Bar Mitzvah for my son Benjamin. It was a great, no, fabulous occasion. Ben ("Little Jazz") participated beautifully in our Shabbat services - and read like a pro from the Torah...truly, he OWNED the bimah and the entire experience. Family and friends came from all over, and our congregation shined in showing off how a sacred community really comes together to enrich the lives of its members - especially the young ones - at such times. From the music Ben chose to the gathering of so many loved ones to the food and dancing to having our family together at our home - it was everything we wanted, and more than we expected.
Several months ago, my colleague Jonathan Stein stated that "Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is still the coin of the realm for Reform Judaism." I agree wholeheartedly. If so, opportunities like L'taken and joyous B'nei Mitzvah are the mint that creates the currency. So thankful to be involved in such important work.