Message from Rabbi Avi, January 2006

Dear friends,

Our Hanukkah dinner was a great success, and the brothers of Temple Emanu-El have proved again that they can cook a sumptuous meal. The children's talent show was a great hit, and I enjoyed seeing all of you marvel while the wonderful young performers of our temple sang and played their musical instrument of choice.

As you all know by now, my motto for our congregation is " Involvement and Unity will bring growth to Temple Emanu-El." It will bring physical growth (and our high number of new members is a clear evidence of this axiom) however; my goal is to bring also a spiritual growth to our individual members. Many of you who participate in our Shabbat services and take advantage of our adult education classes have conveyed this truth to me. I am convinced that our beautiful Jewish tradition is the source and the guide for our happiness.

I met with the ritual committee last month and we decided to revive a practice that was customary in Temple Emanu-El some years ago. Every Friday night service we would like to have two Bimah guests who would receive the honor of reciting the English readings of this service. We will plan the yearly Bimah Guest list in advance and you will be notified of your turn. Of course this is an honor, but it is also an option and an opportunity for you to participate further in our congregational life. If you decide not to take part in this old/new practice we will respect your wish.

In addition, the ritual committee has thought of a new way to improve our procedure for the prayer for the sick. As you know, one of the most important Mitzvoth (commandments) is to visit the sick. Therefore, I would appreciate if you would let me know when one of our members is ill, hospitalized, or about to undergo a surgery.

Furthermore, I would like to include him or her on the Mi Sheberach list that we read during our Shabbat services. Some people have asked me, who should be on this list? The answer for that is quite simple: People who are seriously ill, before and after surgery, or when there is a life-threatening situation, etc. In addition, when one of your loved ones is ill, I encourage you to come and pray in person for his or her recovery.

When a person recovers from their illness, please inform us about the recovery, so we can remove him or her from the list. We currently have 51 names on the list, and in some cases these are people who have already recovered from their serious illness, but we have not been informed.

In general, once a month we would like to update the list. So unless we are informed of a person's condition, we will assume that they have recovered and remove them from the sick list. If you wish to add a name to the list, please call the office or leave a message on the answering machine.

I would also like to offer this prayer for all of our ill members: "Heal us, Adonai, and we shall be healed. Help us and save us, for you are our Glory. Grant perfect healing for all our afflictions. For you are the faithful and merciful God of healing. Praised are you, Adonai healer of the people of Israel."

May God send you a complete and speedy recovery together with all the other sick of God's people Israel.


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