Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reaching for the Heights


From the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

A Message From Our President

Dr. Lance Strate

Reaching for the Heights

Looking off into the distance at the New York skyline, have you noticed that new building that's still under construction, towering over all of the others in midtown, even the Empire State Building? It has no name, as far as I know, it's just referred to as 432 Park Avenue, and it's a luxury condominium that'll be opening next year. While officially being listed as the second tallest building in the city, its roof will actually be 30 feet higher than One World Trade Center (remember when they called it the Freedom Tower?), and it will be the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere. And three more condos are going up that will be of similar height: 225 West 57th Street (also being called the Nordstrom Tower), 111 West 57th Street (which will hold the distinction of being the world's skinniest skyscraper), and 125 Greenwich Street (just a block away from One World Trade Center).

Clearly, things are changing in nearby Manhattan, and you might say that things are looking up. Or you might feel otherwise. But whatever your views on real estate development, urban renewal, gentrification, city planning, architectural style, and the like, I think we can all agree that this is quite a reversal, you might say a recovery, from the collective trauma of 9/11. Some of you may remember how we gathered together at Adas Emuno 13 years ago, finding some measure of solace and comfort in our congregation, following that terrible tragedy.

Even when faced with the depths of depravity, we human beings cannot be kept down for long. By our very nature, we reach for the heights, and we do so in so many ways. Through our buildings and monuments. By climbing mountains. By flying airplanes. By building rockets to take us into orbit, and all the way to the moon, and even, one day, maybe, to Mars.

Closer to home, we may be spending our time and energy climbing the career ladder, looking for ways to move on up in the world, and looking after our children as they grow up. As we endeavor to rise to every occasion, we ought to remember that there is a launching pad that we all can rely on. A place that can help us to elevate ourselves through communion, education, and social action. A construction site where we can raise our spirits, raise our souls, raise our consciousness, and as well, where we can raise our children in our unique and extraordinary tradition.

Adas Emuno is our launching pad, a place where we can take time off from the cares and concerns of the mundane world, and a place that we can take off from, to reach new heights in human potential that we may never even have dreamed of.

How high can you climb? The sky's the limit! All that's needed is your presence. Better yet, your participation. And, of course, your patronage, because to reach for the heights we need the support of a sturdy foundation, and to raise ourselves and our families, we also need to do some fundraising.

We won't be part of the skyline or set any records, but through our congregation, we certainly can stand tall in our own right. And we can see very far indeed, standing on the shoulders of the giants of Jewish tradition. And we can reach for the heights, both individually in our own personal development, and together as a community.

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