Congregation Sha'aray Israel

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A Conservative Jewish Congregation serving the spiritual needs of the Middle Georgia Jewish community since 1904

A Word from The President

September 2015
Elul - Tishri 5775 / 5776

Wow! Times flies. As a child, summers felt like they lasted forever, but as an adult, they seem to roll by in a flash. While we might wish that summers linger a bit longer, there is also anticipation to see some relief from the heat and feel the first hint of cooler weather. For our youth, the return to more structured days begin as they head back to school heralding a new educational season. It seems like just yesterday it was time to attend High Holiday services.

Memories include greeting friends, hoping for a sweet New Year, insightful words from the rabbi, the familiarity of the prayers, being serenaded by voices davening, listening to the unique sounds of the shofar, taking in the beauty of our main sanctuary, Yizkor evoking memories of loved ones passed, and so much more. One can't help but to reflect over the year just passed. With repentant hearts we pray for forgiveness and hope that the Lord who is beneficent and merciful will grant us the privilege of being sealed in the Book of Life for yet another year. Despite our failings, we recreate ourselves anew with good intentions. Time is one of the best teachers of all and hopefully lessons great or small of the past year enable us to make thoughtful, considerate, and wise choices as our human experiences continue to unfold.

As we get closer to 5776, we realize that difficult economic times particularly during the past decade have forced some religious organizations including synagogues to either limit services or close their doors completely. Worldwide there are so called “vagabond” congregations that don't have a brick and mortar structure to call home and have services in whatever location they can find. When I see congregants pause a moment at the threshold of our own shul to reverently touch their fingertips to the building, then touch their lips and say a silent prayer, it is a visual reminder of how fortunate we all are to have a place to pray and worship. It's easy to perhaps take this for granted, but we never should. Dues and generous contributions help maintain and sustain our beloved shul. As we move closer to our High Holy Days and begin our yearly appeal with the Annual Fundraising Campaign, know that your donation in whatever amount you are able to give is both appreciated and needed.

A custom at Rosh Hashanah (and don't you just love all of our various food customs) is to eat pomegranates as a symbolic gesture in the hope that our merits will increase like the seeds inside this unique fruit. May you enjoy the bounty of delicious food at Rosh Hashanah and may your Yom Kippur fasts be easy. I extend best wishes that we are all blessed in the coming year with an abundance of sweetness, good health, prosperity, and peace.

L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!

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