TGIF! Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are right around the corner, but many of my friends here in Southern California are still working through the aftermath of what transpired in Thousand Oaks and these massive fires that destroyed many homes and three major Jewish camps and a school, including Camp JCA Shalom, where I used to live.
Also, our Moishe House community in Pittsburgh is continuing to come together in solidarity and strength. Click here to read Moishe House CEO & Founder David Cygielman’s reflection on the 50+ Solidarity Shabbat and Havdalah programs led by Moishe Houses and Moishe House Without Walls hosts around the world. How do you walk into a season of gratitude with all that? This month’s MHWOW Schmoozeletter is all about finding gratitude and joy with your MHWOW community this holiday season.
For me, I look towards the simplest of Jewish practices to reignite my own positivity.
Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer of Temple B’nai Shalom of East Brunswick, New Jersey, sums this idea up nicely,
“Of course the main theme of the holiday of Thanksgiving comes from the name itself, reminding us of the importance of giving thanks. Saying ‘thank you’ is a primary Jewish value. When a Jew sits down to eat, he or she says: ‘Blessed are you God, for bringing bread from the earth.’ To say a blessing over bread affirms that God played a role in creating the universe where the sun rises each day and the rain falls and the growth of food is possible. The rabbis taught that we are to say 100 blessings a day. This teaching reminds us that no matter how difficult life can be, we all have many blessings such as simply being alive, our health, our loved ones, and friends.”
I hope that the resources and ideas in this newsletter inspire you to create joyous MHWOW programs, celebrate these holidays with your community, and find your own 100 blessings.
P.S. Some exciting new MHWOW programmatic and administrative changes for 2019 will be rolling out soon. Watch your inbox for important messages!
-Terry Wunder, Senior Program Director