On my first day back in August, just about 11 months ago, I said that I wanted to sit down with each and every one of you, to hear your story. And I meant it! This afternoon I flipped back through my calendar and realized that as of today I have sat down and had a 1:1 conversation with 150 members of the KT community. Thank you for taking this time to build trust with me. This immediately made me think of the book of Psalms which has 150 chapters. Each of you a psalm unto yourself. Each of you a story, a song, a poem. Each of you asking different questions, carrying different struggles, sharing different concerns. Each of you vulnerable and beautiful. In the words of Psalm 150, Halleluyah!
In my experience, there is a desire to homogenize community; to either take refuge in feeling like everyone is like you; or to justify rejection by claiming difference as a reason to not belong. What stands out most from these conversations, is how much difference our community contains. I know from sitting with so many of you that our distinctions are not only what define us, they are our greatest strength. I am eager to keep cultivating our personal and collective heart of many rooms.
At this weekend's board retreat, we closed with a contemplative exercise in which each of us had to go around the room and fill in the following formula:
I offer you...
You offer me...
May we all go from strength to strength.
All week I have been filling in those blanks...and I invite you as we come to the end of my first you as your rabbi to take a moment to do the same.
Please know that I offer each of you gratitude.
And you offer me wholeness.
May we all go from strength to strength!
And if you are not among the 150, let's find each other in August. I am eager to connect with you in Year 2 of KT 2.0.
Rabbi Ari Lev
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Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek Synagogue through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.