Like so many people around the world, I became caught up in the drama of Pope Francis's election last month. The process was a fascinating and, at times, deeply moving opportunity to witness the evolution of Roman Catholic identity world-wide. For a church that has suffered so many wounds (too many of them self-inflicted) in recent years, it was lovely to witness all the excitement and hope engendered by the opening of this potential new chapter.
"All the festivals will cease, but the days of Purim will not cease (Midrash Mishlei, 9)." This rather surprising teaching about Purim is based on a verse towards the end of the megillah (scroll) of Esther. At the end of the story, we read that the Jewish people took upon themselves the commitment "...that these days of Purim shall not disappear from among the Jews, nor the memory of them perish from their descendants (Esther 9:28)."
“Time” is a human invention. I forget that truth periodically. I try to anchor my life to holidays and anniversaries, the start of spring training and of school, the arrival of graduation and summer vacation as though these occasions were immutable realities on which we can depend as we depend on the sunrise. But like the days of the week and the hours of the day, these times are human inventions.
Our Temple President, John Weiss believes that there are a significant number of Beth El members (that’s you!) who would be willing to get more involved if only someone would ask them. By the end of this article, I hope to test John’s hypothesis. First, however, I’d like to set the stage for the experiment by dispelling three myths about our congregation.