My message this week (the final one of 2018!)

This week, we complete the book of Genesis. In this portion we have a multitude of conclusions: Jacob blesses his sons as well as Joseph’s two sons (Jacob’s grandsons), and then he dies. Then, after assuring his brothers that he bears them no ill will, all is forgiven and that he will provide for their “little ones” – the family’s future generations, Joseph dies. Amazingly, after all the family drama, division, and rancor, Genesis ends with family leaders having a peaceful, even good, death. Further, the family that is soon to swell into a tribe and then a nation is set on a stable and prosperous course, even as they live in a foreign land.

Isn’t that the kind of ending we all could only hope for? As December is rapidly heading toward the close of the 2018, I know many of us are feverishly trying to complete everything we need to do to be ready for the end-of-year break and quality time with family and friends. Some of us (like Zach Schnitzer and Alexis Miller) are experiencing job transitions, which makes this year end even more of a pronounced change! I want to take this space to thank Zach for all that he has done for our community and for being a most gracious and welcoming gate keeper and grounding force in our office. And, we are excited to grow and learn with Alexis as she takes on this central role in our community. Welcome, Alexis!

Endings can really be fraught, not only with details, but all the mixed emotions we may feel at times of change. Let us notice the tender feelings we may be experiencing during the American holiday season, with all the expectations of joy and family it brings, and be kinder to one another. I hope we can set growthful and realistic goals for the new year that are truly good and healthy for us.

Joseph’s last words to his family’s next generation were, “God will surely take care of you!” May it be that you feel God’s nurturing care in all of your preparations and all of your transitions.

Happy (secular) New Year! 
Rabbi Anna