The Times They Are A-Changin’ 5778

Rosh HaShanah signals for Jews not only the seasonal shift from summer to autumn, it’s a signal for us to change ourselves. The month of Elul was when we were mandated to prepare our souls for the coming change.

Our souls are what our Creator cares about and cares about deeply. HaShem is not only our Creator, but our Lover – and our sages recognized that by pointing out that the letters that make up the month of Elul – aleph, lamed, vav, lamed – are an acronym for the phrase from the Song of Songs that is used in the wedding vows: Ani l’dodi v;dodi li – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

This is not pure speculation – we are God’s creations and are loved by our Creator. When we “miss the mark” with our mistakes, our disrespect of our God, we need to make amends.

We need to change our ways. We need to take responsibility. We need to ask for forgiveness.

That is what this season, these Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, are all about.

Bob Dylan wrote a song in the ‘60’s called, “The Times, They Are A’Changin.”

Of course, back in the ‘60’s, the times were a-changin’. It was a period of turmoil throughout our country and Dylan’s song was a powerful reflection of how that generation, my generation, was being given the choice of allowing the status quo of the political world to remain or to step up and take responsibility for changing things to make them better.

By “better,” I mean that our country needed to stop the virulent racial divide that was prevalent across the United States; to stop promoting a purposeless war that seemed to never end.

And astonishingly, much of what needed to be changed actually was accomplished. The Civil Rights Act, the end of the Viet Nam War.

For me and for what I call my “cyber-synagogue,” we have existed for over 16 months. In that time we have undergone almost constant changes.

I began live-streaming our services almost from the beginning, with varying results. At first, we had issues with the WiFi in the clubhouse where we held services. Sometimes it simply didn’t work at all.

Our community, an elderly one, began to diminish because of health reasons and eventually the Board of Directors made the decision at first to limit our Shabbat evening services to once a month and ultimately to discontinue Shabbat services altogether.

It broke my heart to do that but I was determined to bring our weekly celebration to the community at large so I set my patio/office at home up as a studio on Friday nights and began live streaming them every week.

For the first several months, I broadcast both Friday night and Saturday morning services, including a brief Torah service, from the Beit HaLev Facebook page and a few people joined from the Leisure World community. But there weren’t very many.

One evening I got a late start so instead of live streaming from my Beit HaLev page, I did it from my own profile page and WOW! It was like a bomb had gone off.

The chat box showed that I had over 100 people that night – and from all over the world!

I realized that I had tapped into something profound, a need that was out there in cyber-space and I knew I needed to move in this direction.

So, what is happening – STILL happening – is a change in direction for my, for Beit HaLev and for the hundreds of people who tune in to me on Shabbat – and now on the High Holy Days.

“The Times, They Are A’Changin.” I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings. There is no doubt in my mind that the One God is directing this show.

L’Shanah Tovah Um’tukah.

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