Recently, I’ve talked about planting seeds. The symbolism is important. Seeds sprout seedlings. Seedlings grow into trees. Trees become forests. And forests form habitat for other life.
Woodlands are strong because thousands of tree roots intertwine and overlap. When a mature tree falls, there are hundreds of others to take its place.
The formation of groups make trees stronger than any individual tree exposed in a field. It’s this grouping that nurtures other life in their community, and this is true for our Jewish community as well.
So, for those of you who know why geese fly in formation, forgive me. I want to tell you more about these remarkable birds because so many of God’s creatures wouldn’t survive the journey without the strength of community.
Geese in flight achieve their goal by working together. The strongest takes the point. The rest fall in perfect formation so that their work is eased by the draft of each bird they follow. The last bird in line, benefits the most. Soon, he or she will rotate into taking the lead.
By working together, geese ensure a long journey – a prosperous one. Without their formation, they’d land short of their goal where life is less hospitable.
In this issue, I want to thank all of our board members for the hard work they do. Lest we forget, these volunteers give to us the one thing we can never give back – their time. For their wisdom and their hard work, and especially for their time, I am forever grateful.
As the lead, Michael Kirsch, our President is well-deserving of rest. His valuable counsel and support has been critical to the Federation for the past three years.
Now, as we welcome Alon Shemesh as our new President, we emerge from the Pandemic at a pivotal moment in the history of the Federation. It’s time that we plan for the future.
Yes, the world we live in is more complex and unclear than ever before. But, as we know from Exodus 20:18, “Moses approached the thick cloud (arafel) because that is where God is.” The passage tells us not to fear what we cannot fully understand, but to get close to it. For that, is where truth lies.
What is the ‘truth’ for our local Jewish conversation as we plan for the future? I dare say that the truth means exploring interdependence as a greater value than independence. There is more we can do together, than we can ever accomplish on our own.
In nature, this observation is a given. Animals form dens, and flocks and packs. Together they are strong. Together they protect and ensure a bright future.
Thus, it’s natural for our Jewish community to gather in formation – to ensure a bright future. To nurture and protect.
And much like the two geese who escort an injured bird to a safe place on the ground where he can rest until reuniting with others in the flock, our Federation leaves no one behind. This too, we can be proud of.
So, forgive me this invitation. I need you. We all need you. Please join us in the conversation about a bright and significant future. It’s exciting. But we can only make it happen by working together in formation.
May God strengthen our common bonds and teach us to celebrate our uniqueness.