10/11 January 2020, 13/14 Tevet 5780

2020 began for me in Israel. Despite it being the lesser Shanah Tovah everyone there seemed pretty excited by the entry into Esrim Esrim (TwentyTwenty).

It was a joy there  and full of interest and questions too. Aside from Benjamin Netanyahu being at the top of Israeli politics most other things have changed a great deal this past decade for Jews and the world. Jeremy Corbyn was a back-bencher, David Cameron and Nick Clegg held the coalition government, Brexit was a glimmer yet to be fully articulated let alone realised. The World Cup was held in South Africa, without the uncertainty and apprehension that anticipates the next in Qatar.

The decade began, as we know too well, with the assassination of Qassim Soleimani and conversations of its legality. Trump’s and Iran’s language of disproportionate retaliations begin our year with justifiable concerns.

And yet life goes on. Yesterday I attended with several of our Ivriah teachers and assistants the Liberal Judaism/Movement for Reform Judaism’s training day for Religion Schools. The LJY group of 18 years old flew to  Israel for their 6 month stint (Schnat). We always have to continue and build resilience and hopefulness regardless.

Gam Zeh La’Avor is a famous Hebrew expression; this too will pass. Nothing stays the same. Ever.

Here’s to the changes and opportunities 2020 may bring. Wishing you strength to rise to them. Chazak Chazak V’Nitchazak. Strength, strength let us be strengthened. (We’ll say these words as we finish the book of Genesis this week, and they are even more far reaching than usual.)

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Rebecca