on Friday, 24 June 2016.
Posted in Rabbi's Blog
From our rabbiOne year ago, I was driving along the highway, on my way out here to Vernon Hills. Along the way, it was easy to miss those small, green, rectangular mile-markers on the sides of the road. We really only notice them when we look for them, seeking them out as a means to determine how much further we have to go. Sometimes, they help us to see how far we have come. But, ultimately, those mile-markers exist to remind us, in the midst of our hustle and bustle, just where we are.
This month serves as one of these mile-markers in our relationship together at Or Shalom. One year ago, I wrote my first Shofar article. My family and I introduced ourselves, and we received the warmest of welcomes from you, our new congregational family. Our cross-country trek past so many of those mile-marker signs had led us to you. At that time, none of us fully knew what to expect.
Now, we have reached our one-year anniversary mile-marker together here at Or Shalom. Realizing this, I wanted to thank all of you in this special community for welcoming my whole family. Every day I feel privileged to serve as your rabbi, as a teacher to our children and to our adults, and as a dreamer of what we can continue to become as a community. It has been a humbling honor to journey alongside you in some of your most profoundly sad and joyfully uplifting moments, and I will continue to strive to reach out to those of you I have not yet gotten to know so well.
One of our mile-markers that we acknowledge together is the inspiring way in which our Board of Trustees has served our Or Shalom family with an incredible amount of passion and commitment, pouring tireless and thankless hours into being wonderful partners and caretakers, making sure that our community has what it needs. We thank those who are stepping aside to allow others the chance to enter the journey of synagogue leadership—Melissa Kaufman, Joan Kessler, Heidi Kramer, Dave Millunchick and Mike Perlow. And we all owe a huge thank you to Andrea Ship, our now-past-president, who has guided us through this time of transition, helping our community to remain strong during a time of uncertainty. Thanks to their efforts, we are in great hands, and we can all look forward to the leadership of our new board and our new president, Jennifer Leventhal.
I want to acknowledge our incredible staff, who has helped me to learn and grow as a rabbi and as a person, and I look forward to continuing our shared journeys in this exciting year to come.
Upon reflection, I can see that this year has been a constant flow of mile-marker moments—encounters that have helped me realize how far we have come as a community and how much further we can still go. But the same is true for each of us—our lives are filled with mile-marker moments. We have meaningful conversations with our loved ones, we celebrate moments of triumph at work, and occasionally we also experience tragic moments that tear us down and at the same time challenge us to search out where we can find blessings in our lives. If we each continue to zoom down our highways of life at the speed of our own limits, we can overlook these moments that shape our lives. We can forget to appreciate the miracles of love, beauty and wonder that surround us, and before we know it, our journeys have led us farther from ourselves than we ever expected.
Summer is here. Its longer days and different pace brings us all the opportunity to take a quick pause here and there to recognize our own mile-markers. May we each make space this July and August to pay attention to these moments in life, reminding us how far we have come in this past Jewish year so that we can appreciate exactly where we are and continue to approach our futures with vigor and excitement. And may we each pause to recognize what my family and I have come to know—how much of a blessing it is to have our Or Shalom family as a part of our lives.
L’shalom,Rabbi Ari N. Margolis
Congregation Or Shalom21 Hawthorn ParkwayVernon Hills, IL 60061
Office HoursMondays: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Tuesdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Wednesdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Thursdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Fridays: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
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