In a community like ours, we know there are shifts taking place between the generations in the way that Jewish life is seen and observed. This creates some challenges for Jewish continuity, but it also creates opportunities for creativity and newer forms of Jewish expression. Some fear change. Others embrace it. Most are somewhere in between.
As we approach a particular Shabbat on our calendar, Shabbat HaChodesh, I was thinking about something that needs to be preserved for Jewish identity and meaning. And it may seem so simple. At first blush, it may even seem outside the realm of significant Jewish living. It is not.
I am talking about Jewish calendars. When I was younger, these calendars were given out by kosher butchers and funeral homes. They can be found in various places today. These calendars enable us to both track the date in the secular world, as well as the date on the Jewish calendar. It provides the most basic information about “Jewish time.”
On these calendars we can find the Jewish month; the times that Shabbat begins and ends; the parshah we are reading; and, of course, the Jewish holidays. The Jewish calendar, the way we tell Jewish time, provides connection to our history and our people, which is an expression of values. When the Jewish calendar is hung on the fridge or placed on the counter, it becomes a source of communication with our children. It is a way to open questions and conversations. It is a way that we can learn and, ultimately, a way we can pass our religion, ritual, values and our culture to the next generation.
My message is simple…Get a Jewish calendar and keep it open to the date! Know where we are coming from and…plan for where we are going!
It’s Rosh Chodesh Nisan – the beginning of the seasons, and a time for rebirth and blooms and new life. It is a time where we realize – as we look at the calendar – that we begin to prepare for our celebration of freedom.
See you in shul.
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom,
This column is dedicated to the memory of Rubin Shafran z”l