From 30,000 Feet

May 26, 2018

As I sit onboard a flight somewhere over the North Atlantic heading to Israel, I have some time to consider the adventure upon which I am embarking.  I feel a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety.  With current events, especially the increase in violence, I am nervous about what I will witness and experience.  While ARZA would not endanger the participants of this leadership mission, the very definition of terrorism is its unpredictability.  At the same time, what a perfect time to witness history as it unfolds.  

At services last night, I invited our friends to share with me their questions and topics about which they would like to know more.  On Monday, we begin our studies with a trip to Gush Etzion, a hotbed of settler activity with a long history of Jewish settlement and conflict.  We will experience the situation from all sides, suspending our judgement and trying to understand all perspectives to develop a well considered opinion of our own, which in turn will hopefully help to guide our Reform Movement to a reasoned and throughtful approach in the future.  But the potential danger is not what causes my anxiety.

I worry that without my family and my Bat Yam community around me for such an extended period I may become lonely.  Lonliness is a very powerful emotional state.  However, in a way, this may also be of benefit to me as it can increase my empathy for those of our community who experience lonliness not by choice, but are forced to through circumstance.  Many of our friends are outliving their own family, friends, and emotional support network.  Many are restricted by mobility and forced to live fairly solitary lives.  As I sit on a plane, surrounded by hundreds of people, with no one to speak with, I wonder if I do enough and what I may be able to do better in the future.  

This is the real power and benefit of my sabbatical; it provides the time and challanges that allow me to approach my rabbnate with renewed energy and novelle perspective.  While the ground is rejuvinated by letting it sit fallow during the sabbatical year, this rejuvination then benefits the farmer, who reaps the increased bounty of the harvest from the refreshed earth.  It is my sincere desire that this time and experience will be of greatest benefit the our Bat Yam family, who graciously support these endeavors.  

5151 NE 14th Terrace
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
One block north of Commercial Blvd. and NE 15th Ave.

Phone: (954) 928-0410
Fax: (954) 928-0762

info@templebatyam.org

One block north of Commerical Blvd. west of 15th Ave.

N26° 11.4106', W080° 7.6266'   (precision: address)