Message from Rabbi Julie

Dear Shomrei Community,

It was hard for me to go to sleep on Monday night, as I thought about what it means to me to start my first official day as the spiritual leader of Shomrei Emunah.  It has been 17 years since I started a new job and this is only my second full-time position as a rabbi.  I am feeling so many things – excitement, trepidation, joy, humility, gratitude.  But more than anything, I am feeling open-hearted.

As I lay awake, I found myself thinking about the weekend I visited to interview and the moments when I felt sparks of connection between us, when I felt I offered a glimpse into who I am as a person and as a rabbi and you embraced me.  And yet, I wonder as we all do in moments of vulnerability, whether I can truly bring all of myself here.  My commitment is to always try and to work together to build a community where each one of us can be our authentic selves while also striving to be our best selves.

I must admit, I’ve been watching a Netflix series called Indian Matchmaker, sometimes into the wee hours of the night.  At the beginning of each episode, before Sima from Mumbai proposes a match, a happily married couple shares their secret to a long-lasting marriage, with a good dose of humor and give-and-take.  I hope our community will be blessed with the secret of one happy couple: to fall in love with each other again and again over the years.

My commitment to you comes from the v’ahavta prayer we recite after the Shema.  In ancient times, love was understood not simply as an emotion but even more so as a series of actions born out of a yearning for holiness and connection, a willingness to serve for the sake of creating something more than we are alone, a covenant, a community, a glimpse of redemption.

It is in that spirit that I commit to love this community b’chol levavcha, b’chol nafshecha, u’vchol m’odecha – to love this community with all of my heart, with all of my soul, and with all of my might.  And together, I know we will build an even more extraordinary community than the one I fell in love with on my first visit

We are just six weeks away from the High Holidays, and often this is seen as a test of sorts for new rabbis; I promise to do my best to meet your expectations and hopes.  This is also an opportunity for us as a community to work together in the next six weeks to have a High Holiday experience that is special because of the intentionality and the preparation that we all put into it.

Let’s get to know each other better before we fast together on Yom Kippur – sign up for one of the meet and greets, come to the BBQ, and reach out to me to meet up one on one.  And let’s find ways to prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for these AWESOME days by listening to my Elul video messages, coming to a pre-High Holiday class, and joining together on the night of Selichot – the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah – to drink apple cider, open our hearts to the haunting melodies of the season, and then kick back and have some fun.

My hope for all of us is that this new beginning will be filled with blessings.  May the One who imbued us with the ability to love guide me in this sacred task of being your rabbi.

With joy and gratitude,

Rabbi Julie Roth

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on August 18th.

Rabbi Julie Roth
Latest posts by Rabbi Julie Roth (see all)

What do you think?