5778 AJA Al Chet

September 28, 2017

8 Tishrei 5778

 

Dear AJA Community,

I trust that you and families had a meaningful Rosh Hashanah. I treasure the High Holidays, particularly the days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, for a number of reasons. For one, it is a period of introspection and of asking “why”? (big surprise coming from me!) Why we do what we do? Why are our values the way they are? What is truly important to me and my family on our Jewish Journey? We start to ask ourselves the big questions, and that makes this period of the Chagim especially important to me.

In my eyes, the purpose of halacha (Jewish Law), it is to give us moments in time to be reflective, to help us recall what is really meaningful. It only takes a quick “click” or login to any news site to see that as a country we, sadly, have a long way to go. What I do know, is that when we take on problems that are overpowering, we become paralyzed. So, instead, we can take on that which is in our control - modeling middot for our children, holding each other accountable to respectable and honest communication, and only then are we continuing to grow a model community.

During this time of reflection, I ask: what are the areas that we (myself included!) should take stock in, reflect on, and improve upon? Like any good educator, I encourage that we don’t focus on the negative, and instead focus on opportunities for growth. So now, as it is my annual tradition (now 2 years running!)...my 5778 AJA Al Chet.

As a community, can continue to focus our attention on:

  • Stretching our gratitude muscles by reaching out to those who are deserving of thanks

  • Being present for each other, not only when the chips are down

  • Taking time to converse with and include people we don’t know well

  • Reading our school emails (please and thanks!)

  • Loving our teachers

  • Reaching out when challenges are percolating...before they boil over

  • Giving each other the benefit of the doubt

  • Engaging the source of the problem and not intermediaries

  • Celebrating our successes as a new school community and sharing our AJA stories with others

  • Remembering that anything we put on social media is seen by everyone

  • Turning off the “screens” and talking more amongst ourselves

  • Articulating to our children why fostering a love of Torah and Israel is crucial

  • Embracing the tension that exists in living within an inclusive, nurturing community

  • Celebrate that we are the most diverse Jewish Day School in Atlanta - a badge of honor

  • Giving our time and energy to causes outside of our Eco Chamber

  • Building relationships with more Atlanta institutions

  • Finding opportunities to engage with our senior community - they are our history!

 

For all these, G-d of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us.   

ועל כלם אלו-ה סליחות, סלח לנו, מחל לנו, כפר לנו.

Wishing you and your families an easy and meaningful fast.

 

L'shalom,

 

 

Rabbi Ari Leubitz

The Mitzvot of Sukkot
Yom Kippur
 

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017