Thanksgiving Message 2012

Thanksgiving this year arrives amidst heavy hearts as we worry about the safety of our family – immediate and communal – in Israel. We mourn the loss of lives in Israel, the injuries sustained, and regret the tragic, inevitable loss of innocent lives in Gaza resulting from efforts to neutralize terrorist elements there. We agonize over precarious prospects for peace even as we pray the ceasefire holds. How can we focus on gratitude when for the last 9 days rockets and bombs were exploding throughout Israel, compelling Israel to respond with ever more risk-filled maneuvers to defend her land and her people?

And yet we must be grateful, for that is the indomitable Jewish spirit that we are responsible for preserving and passing on to the next generation. Gratitude is the loudest prayer, the most humbling plea. Gratitude reminds us of all there is worth continuing to strive for and about which we must continue to dream.

Here are a few things for which we ought to be grateful this particular Thanksgiving:

  • The presence of family, friends and community in our lives;
  • The privilege of being a Jew;
  • The opportunity to live in a nation committed to the freedom and dignity of all people;
  • The State of Israel;
  • Israel’s commitment to the safety of her people coupled with the commitment to realize a lasting peace in the Middle East;
  • The centrality of moral and spiritual values in conversations around the Jewish world about how to achieve both security and peace;
  • The dedication and sacrifice of soldiers and their families, here and in Israel;
  • The fellowship expressed between people of all backgrounds in response to Hurricane Sandy;

As you join together around your holiday tables tomorrow, please remember these and the other gifts that fill our lives. Share this prayer by Rabbi Naomi Levy about the fundamentals we too often take for granted: http://www.ritualwell.org/ritual/thanksgiving-prayer

During your quieter moments this weekend, take the time to read these two important pieces by Rabbi Daniel Gordis and Rabbi Donniel Hartman, both interesting and important frames for our discussions about Israel today:

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/116853/u-s-jewsfighting-wrong-battle

http://iengage.org.il/iE_Team_View.asp?Article_Id=219&Cat_Id=35&Cat_Type=ie_Team

And don’t forget to join us on Sunday as we ground our expressions of thanks in works of healing and compassion by participating in hurricane relief efforts with Nechama (www.nechama.org). Email JoAnne ASAP to secure one of 10 spots available for a Sha’ar team – joanne@shaarcommunities.org

With gratitude, prayers and blessings,
Dini
Rabbi Adina Lewittes

Download Thanksgiving Message 2012