November Bazman 2015

2420 East Hillcrest Drive Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 (805) 497-7101


Bazman Hazeh

“In These Times”

Cheshvan - Kislev 5776

VOL. 49 NO. 2


Andrew Straus, Rabbi David Shukiar, Cantor

Aliza Goland, Executive Director Marcy Goldberg, Director of Education Donna Becker, ECC Director

Peggy Frank, President, Board of Directors Alan Greenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus

From the Rabbi’s Desk

In Jewish life there is an expression Mar Cheshvan , “bitter is Cheshvan ” – for it is the only month in the Jewish calendar that has no holidays during it. This year Cheshvan largely coincides with November, for there are no Jewish holidays in November (other than Shabbat , the most important holiday which comes every week). How sad it would be to have no holidays to celebrate! But we are saved, for Thanksgiving comes along and gives us a reason to be with friends and family, a reason to eat too much food and watch too much football. What Thanksgiving celebrates is what Succot represents: giving thanks for all that we have - our physical and material well-being – including all the food that we are privileged to eat year-round. What a shame that we only celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, for every day should be Thanksgiving Day! Every day we should learn to be grateful and appreciative of all the gifts and blessings we have in our life. Last year I read a book about a man who, after hitting a rough patch in in his life, decided to write one “thank you” note every day. He wrote to business associates, family and friends, clients, customers and colleagues. Every

temper, more caring and appreciative of his friends and family. He realized that by making every day Thanksgiving Day, his life was richer and more meaningful. Judaism teaches us that every day is Thanksgiving Day. The rabbis teach us that we should strive to say 100 brachot - blessings - a day. A bracha , a blessing, is just another way of saying “thank you.” We can say Baruch Ata Adonai , thank you God … for the food we are about to eat or just ate, the clothing we have to wear, eyes to see with, legs to stand on, a brain that thinks, a heart that feels. We can say “thank you” for the ability to say I am sorry, and the ability to forgive those who have wronged us. One of my favorite blessings reminds us to say thank you for that which we most take for granted – our bodies. The blessing literally says “Blessed are you … who formed the body with wisdom, creating a system of ducts and conduits in them. It is well known that if one of these should burst or one of these gets blocked it would be impossible to survive and stand before You.” As my colleague and friend Rabbi Joe Black says, “Thanks God, I seem to be working fine.” Try to make every day Thanksgiving Day. Remember to say “Thank you, God, for …. “ (you fill in the blank). And don’t forget to thank your children, spouse, partner, parents, and colleagues, too.

day he wrote one brief note. What he quickly realized was that by writing one note a day, he became much more appreciative of all the goodness in his life. He realized he was a nicer person, slower to lose his

L’Shalom, Rabbi Andrew Straus

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