Rabbis Desk – Turning of the calendar


Susan Elkodsi
Welcome to 2018, or as many people are posting on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites “20 n” – 20 chai. The numerical value of chai, the letters het and yud, is 18, and the word means life. Malverne resident, and my Facebook
friend Peter Freeman penned this Haiku:

                                     May twenty-eighteen
                                     Be blessed with love, happiness
                                     And glorious chai.

And he noted, “What better way to celebrate an international celebration like New Year’s Day than to use English to write a Japanese poem (haiku) about a Hebrew word!!!” When you think about it, there really aren’t too many times when the entire world can celebrate something together.

The turning of the calendar, whether it’s for the secular or Jewish year, or one of the other three new years on the Jewish calendar, is significant. Rosh Hashanah with its emphasis on teshuva and the secular new year, with a tradition of making new year’s resolutions, encourage us to reflect on the past months with an eye towards what worked, what didn’t, what we’re happy about, and what we might want to improve.

2017 was a great year for the Malverne Jewish Center, and 2018 will be even better. In 2017 you, as a congregation, voted to renew my contract for the next six years, and we had a wonderful installation ceremony in August to solidify this relationship. It was truly a meaningful event, and I’m blessed to have our congregants, friends and guests in my life and in our community.

After two years of driving back and forth to Connecticut, and living in two places, David and I are now fully immersed in life in Malverne Village; we’re learning the trash and recycling schedule and the parking regulations, getting to know our neighbors and enjoying being able to strike up a conversation on the street or in the diner.

What makes me especially happy is when I run into someone who says, “I didn’t realize the Malverne Jewish Center still existed,” and I tell him or her about all the wonderful things that are happening. Eventually, they’ll make their way into the building and see for themselves.

Just in the next couple of months, we have many opportunities to participate in our synagogue and community life, from a Shabbat dinner with Valley Stream Jewish Center to a discussion with novelist Amy Gottlieb, to our annual Tu B’Shevat seder (another new year!) and then on to February and Purim, and so on.

Twenty-Chai is our opportunity to continue to breathe new life into the Malverne Jewish Center, whether you join us for Shabbat services, come to our learning programs, support us financially or come to socialize; there’s something for everyone, and if there’s something you want to see offered, please say something!

May the coming year be filled with health, happiness, prosperity, blessing and most of all, peace!

Shana Tova     Rabbi Susan Elkodsi