Pirke Avot 2:18--“Rabbi Shimon said: Be careful with the recitation of the Shema and the prayers. When you pray, do not regard your prayers as a fixed obligation but rather as [the asking for] mercy and supplication before God, as the verse states, ‘For gracious and merciful is God, slow to anger, great in kindness, and relenting of the evil decree’ (Joel 2:13). Do not consider yourself wicked in your own eyes.”
November 17, 2017
28 Cheshvan 5778
Shabbat Toldot Gen. 25:19-28:9
Normally I write Shabbat Shalom on Friday mornings after I read through the news online. If I can’t do it on Friday, then, as you well know, I tend to not write. This week I am writing on Wednesday because I didn’t want to miss writing this message. Thursday and Friday I will be working with the Temple’s Habitat Crew installing trim at a house near downtown. Next week is Thanksgiving and on Tuesday evening, November 21, at 7 PM, I will be part of the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This year, we will have 18 different religious organizations represented at the service—Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha’i. We will gather at St. Michael’s Catholic church with each other and members of our congregational communities.
For decades (literally) I have urged members of my congregations to attend this awesome experience and a few of you do set aside the evening and attend. Those who do come tend to return year after year because of the faith and fellowship of this awesome evening. I am blessed to have so many clergy colleagues and friends who also anticipate this evening of giving thanks for the blessings in our lives, our communities and the place we live. Please consider coming this year to Canton’s Interfaith Service or, if you live elsewhere, attend the Thanksgiving service in your community.
This is the 38th Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Begun by Rabbi Gorin, continued by Rabbi Spitzer, and now led by me and others, we have grown this service from just a few churches to the enormous number we have today. Not only will we sing together, pray together, hear words chanted in Hebrew and Arabic, see vestments representing so many different denominations, but we will also take up a collection to support Thanksgiving Baskets Downtown Canton (http://www.thanksgivingbasketscanton.org/). This program too has grown in scope of volunteers and churches, synagogues, mosques, organizations participating in the planning and execution. Just last night nine of the volunteers packing 400 of the eventual 1185 bags were from Temple Israel. Thank you to everyone who brought, sorted, schlepped, bagged, and moved food. We thank Fishers Foods for its assistance in getting us some of the food and the many churches that had food drives. It takes a lot of people to make this program work. Some of us meet all year just to get to October and November. The money collected on Tuesday evening is the seed money for next year’s program. If you can’t come to the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and want to help out Thanksgiving Baskets Canton, you can send me a check. It is tax deductible as we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It costs about $25 for each food basket that includes a 10-12 lb. turkey.
So let me wish you a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving and I hope to see you Tuesday evening at St. Michael’s Catholic church.
When you light your Shabbat candles, light one for the opportunity to bring goodness into the world through prayer or deed. Light the other candle and let its light shine throughout the world.
Rabbi Jon Adland