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“In These Times”

Tamuz / Av/ Elul 5778

VOL. 51 NO. 4

JULY / AUGUST 2018

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

Sandy Greenstein, President Alan Greenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus

Barry Diamond, Rabbi David Shukiar, Cantor

From the Rabbi’s Desk Return and Honor

One of the more surprising stories of the Bible (Judges 11: 30 – 39) involves the daughter of Jephtha. Jephtha, an heroic general of ancient Israel, returned from a difficult military campaign and wanted to throw a feast that celebrated his success and thanked God. As he neared his home and undoubtedly grew excited at his return, he became impulsive and careless. He imagined the many goats and sheep that roamed around his farm and boastfully made an inviolable vow to God that he would sacrifice to God the first thing that came out to greet him. But rather than a goat or sheep running to greet him as they usually did, Jephtha’s daughter rushed out to embrace her father. The tradition is ambiguous as to whether he fulfilled his vow, but either way, his thoughtlessness caused considerable pain and angst. Returning to one’s home is exciting, and TAE feels more like home than any other congregation at which I’ve worked. But as excited as I am, I do not want to return thoughtlessly or without care. Rather, I want to be cognizant

of the complex feelings that accompany my return. One rabbi’s return is another’s departure, and I want to recognize the love and affection that many of our members have for Rabbi Straus. My hope is that each of us, as individuals and as a community, remember and celebrate the best of what he brought to TAE.
 My desire to honor Rabbi Straus will not diminish, but neither will the joy I feel at returning, reestablishing old relationships and creating new connections as well. I have one simple desire in returning to TAE: to increase our decency and compassion with one another and the world in general. When we lift our eyes and hearts toward the heavens, I believe we can create a community that draws wisdom from our tradition and uses it to ennoble the lives of one and all.

I hope to see you soon.

l’Shalom,

Rabbi Barry Diamond

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