Chaverim Yekarim,

So I was debating the subject line for this Shabbat message. It was between that and ”See you at the sin-agogue.” I think I chose wisely, right?

We have made it to Shabbat Shuva after a whirlwind few days of Rosh Hashanah. I know that you may say I am biased, but I loved Services this past week. I found it so moving and meaningful to mark the beginning of a new decade in the Hebrew calendar with all of you. Contrary to a common complain among my colleagues, I felt like I was actually able to pray even as I helped to lead Services. That is due to so many things, most of which have to do with the culture and the community that you all help create each and every day. Your voices raised us all up. Your collective spirit allowed us all to soar like eagles through the feast of liturgy, song, and the sound of the shofar to punctuate it all.

I have much gratitude to share, but I’ll wait until after these Days of Awe finish. In the meantime, I want to draw our attention to one of the critical words of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy, not to mention the entire book of Genesis, which we will soon start reading. Hineni; the name of the intentional prayer that our cantorial soloist, Ellen, sang so beautifully a few days ago. Here I am! It is also the same word used by Abraham when he brought Isaac up the mountain, the same word used by Moses at the burning bush when God asked for him. Here I am! I am fully present in this moment.

As we continue on this journey through the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, may we all be fully present to each moment. Let us all take comfort in the idea that there is no better time than now to say, Here I am — to ask for forgiveness, express solidarity, and, most of all, show love.

On this Shabbat Shuva, this Shabbat of Return and Purity, may we all commit to embodying the best version of ourselves at all times. In so doing, we fulfill the covenant laid out so clearly on these Holy Days. I am so looking forward to standing with you all in a few days on Yom Kippur.

Until then, Shabbat Shalom, and Gmar Chatimah Tovah,