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

February 2015
Shevat 5775

I came across a Haggadah for Tu B’Shevat entitled “The Trees Are Davening.” I thought the title evoked a powerful image. Today was a blustery day – winds up to forty miles per hour, and huge trees swayed in the wind with their branches leaning to and fro. We can’t see the wind but we definitely know it is there because we see the impact of the wind - the trees bending to its push and pull.

There are a lot of things that we don’t actually see, but we know there is something powerful and underlying.

Most of us don’t see all of the preparations that go into a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, like the planning, student preparation and studying, cooking and baking, and organizing all the details. Mazel tov to Maya Rubinstein for a beautiful Bat Mitzvah service, and to her family for including all of us in their simcha.  Most of us don’t actually see all of the planning, organizing, delegating, and implementing that goes into creating a fundraiser. CSI’s High Stakes Bingo and Auctions is one of our three big fundraisers, the Annual Fund Drive and the CSI Ad Book and Directory being the other two. Mazel Tov to Theresa Rosengart and her Ways and Means Committee for the ticket sales, gathering up the auction items, planning the menu and making arrangements, setting up, and then cleaning up. The evening was outstanding and successful, and a great time was had by all. Thank you to everyone who bought tickets, attended, and helped in a million other ways. Events like this cannot happen without lots of hands and support. It’s a success because of you!

The same applies to the wonderful Shabbat Shirah Service in which Rabbi Rubinstein, fellow musicians, and the choir planned and participated, and to Shelley Davidson for the delicious Shabbat dinner. When we sit in services, the music itself is something we cannot see, but hearing it can move us in ways we don’t expect. Thank you to all who took part in this special service.

Also, the same applies to our committees and Board of Governors. Most of us don’t actually see the work that goes into the meetings, addressing concerns and caretaking, and planning the ritual, educational, and outreach facets of our shule. Thank you for what you do and for being the underlying security that we need to survive. If you are interested in being part of the committee work for CSI, please let us know, as your involvement and investment are important.

While we know we are in the midst of the winter season, there is another force that is evident, causing things to change. We don’t actually see the force, but we know it is there because we see the results. The green leaves of my tulips and daffodils are pushing up through the soil, and pretty soon there will be buds on the cherry blossom trees. In Israel,

“The almond tree is growing,
The golden sun is glowing,
Birds sing out from tree to tree,
And this is what they say to me,
Tu B’Shevat is coming,
The Birthday of the Trees.”

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