Almost two years have gone by since we left our synagogue building. During that time we have been homeless and on a journey, involving struggle and challenge – in particular, the challenge of redeveloping 6 Lansdowne Road as the congregation’s home for the future.
It hasn’t been easy being homeless, but we have found more than adequate temporary homes: at 6 Lansdowne Place, the site of the office, where meetings and adult study sessions are held, at the Ralli Hall Jewish community centre, where we meet on Shabbat mornings and early afternoons for prayer and study, and at the homes of our members, especially on Erev Shabbat. And more than finding venues for our activities, we have discovered that the congregation has actually thrived. Over the past two years, we have welcomed four dozen individuals – including three children and five new-borns – into BHPS, and by the time the New Year begins that number will have risen to more than five dozen.
So, as we look back over the past year, while the way has had many twists and turns, we have much to celebrate. And as we look forwards to the year ahead, working cooperatively together, we will find ourselves on our way back home.
Every Rosh Ha-Shanah is a threshold between the past and the future. The coming year, in particular, marks a threshold in the life of the synagogue. The efforts we make towards the redevelopment of the home of our beloved congregation will ensure the future of Liberal Judaism and progressive Jewish life on the South coast. It is as important and as crucial as that.
With the dawning of the New Year, we will enter a very intensive period of congregational activity. As each one of us takes the opportunity of this sacred time to reflect on our own personal journeys, to assess where we have been where we are going, let us also consider our relationships with others – with our families and friends and fellow congregants – and our relationship to the synagogue: the part we have played and the part we can play in renewing the life of the congregation. Let us also find moments to give thanks for the gift of community, which enables us to connect our lives as individuals and families with others, and so create the bonds and foster the values, which give our lives meaning and purpose. Let us remind ourselves of the words of Hillel, recorded in Pirkey Avot, the Sayings of the Sages (1:14): ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?’ Shanah Tovah!
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah