It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 20 years since Jonathan Larson and the cast of Rent taught us all that a year is comprised of “five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.” But, as the song “Seasons of Change” reminds us, there’s more to a year than the sum total of its minutes, days or weeks. It’s what happens during that time that really matters.
In this week’s Torah portion, Emor, the Torah gives us its definition of a year. It’s one of several places in the Torah that lists the key components of the calendar – Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. These are still the major festivals of the Jewish calendar to this day. However, the synagogue calendar is closely aligned with the school calendar, which means that the end is in sight.
As we come toward the conclusion of our program year at the synagogue – we have Confirmation, the 6th Grade Service, ELC graduation, end of the JLC year, officer installations and more coming up in the next month or so – it’s an opportunity to think about what were the key components of our synagogue year.
You might expect a rabbi to simply say that we had services – lots and lots of services. As important as prayer is to the life of our community, our calendar is jam-packed with so much more than that. There was something for everyone – Joseph Telushkin lecture, Super Hero Tot Shabbat, Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks performance, 10th Interfaith Menorah Lighting, Tennis Night, Country Western Purim, Nu – Whaddya Do?, Women’s Group Shabbat and, of course, the week-long hosting of 25 Israeli teens and educators.
I could go on. And our year is not even over yet.
How often do we really stop and think about the meaningful experiences of the past year? Many of us are so focused on getting from one activity to the next that we don’t take the time to appreciate the big picture. And sometimes, it’s a really great picture.
It’s certainly worthwhile to do as an institution, but it’s also worthwhile to do as individuals. It’s easy count minutes or list holidays to mark the passage of time. However, thinking about the moments that had an impact puts the year in perspective. I hope that some of the events on our community calendar have been meaningful moments on your personal calendar. I further hope that we’ll have more of those moments together going forward. After all, those events don’t just fill up a calendar. They also create community .