THE CANOPY OF PEACE
I write this with the “holidays” come and gone... and there seem to be so many special memories this year.
The splendid High Holy Day weather; the cantor’s stirring voice; Doris White’s moving appeal; the Tashlich crowd... and, yes, the tears on my wife’s face as I dedicated my sermon, The Work of our Hands, to her.
...the super-moon eclipse over the Temple and s’mores-in-the-sukkah, the fabulous evening of folk-songs in the “sukkah” (almost), when Stella Borelli sang “Hands” by Jewel (which she learned special for the occasion because I had referenced a line from it in the aforementioned sermon); subs-in-the sukkah, when sixty (count them) people squeezed into the sukkah to say the blessings and reach for a sandwich.
...the procession to the sidewalk with our Torah scrolls at Simchat Torah; the bursting bimah as everyone received an Aliyah by birthday; the consecration of our newest students. What beautiful memories and what vitality.
An aside: Debby sent a copy of the Hands sermon to the surgeon who performed the pioneering surgery on that little boy Zion. Within hours she received a reply, “I’m crying reading this in Honduras.” Dr. Scott Kozin was on a medical mission there, working more miracles. During Sukkot I sang a song with our youth, called "The Canopy of Peace (Sukkat Shalom)". As part of the song, we went around mentioning places in the world that need peace. Tragically, the stunning pictures of Syrian refugees streaming to Europe were also part of the holiday experience this year. So, too, the destruction of one of the world’s priceless archeological sites, Palmyra, by the scourge called ISIS.
And so, too, as the holidays came to an end, and continuing even as I write this, of images of Jews being stabbed by knife-wielding Palestinians in our beloved Israel. The year that I began rabbinical studies I lived on a wonderful old street in Jerusalem with the very name, Sukkat Shalom. The image of the Canopy of Peace actually occurs in our prayers every Shabbat as part of the Hashkivenu prayer. We never stop praying for peace and pursuing peace. We cannot stop now.
Yes, we are grateful for all the blessings in our lives and for the embrace of the special community that is Congregation Adas Emuno. At the same time, we pray that the Canopy of Peace be spread deeper and wider over a world so much in need of shalom.