Like Shelley and me, I know that most members of our community have slowly trickled back to Tokyo. As September approaches summer holidays come to their necessary end. That was clear this morning as we walked the dog. We saw lots of parents walking with their children who were clearly dressed for their first day back at school. That was certainly a sign that despite the heat autumn slowly approaches. Shelley and I are glad to be back, and excited to for the new Hebrew School year, and the High Holidays to come.
Traditionally this period of excitement before the High Holidays is a time of dedication. Each morning begins with the sound of the shofar, which is a call for repentance, changing of lives, and recommitment to God and to our community. Here in Tokyo, we have an additional opportunity. While we have had to say goodbye to many families who have returned to their homes, there also is an influx of new families. This pre-holiday period can be a time where we reach out to these new Jewish families (and also unconnected families who may have been here for years) welcoming them to our community, and encouraging them to be part of the vibrant Jewish life at the JCJ. As all of us know moving to Japan can be a difficult transition. We can be a part of helping these newcomers feel at home.
This summer has also been difficult for all of us who love Israel. We have had to watch and listen as people are killed and injured, and missiles rain down all across Israel. We have all heard the anti-Israel rhetoric so prevalent in the media, and seen the anti-Semitic protests across Europe. This is a time to stand together and to send all our love to Israel. It is also time to hope that one day Israel can live in peace.
I hope that everyone will take the time to examine the schedule for the High Holidays, and plan to join us for these central services of the Jewish year. Don't forget to reserve your seats, and plan to join us for some the festive holiday meals. It should be an exciting holiday season, and Shelley and I look forward to wishing everyone Shanah Tova for 5775.
Rabbi David A. Kunin