Hear Our Voice

The Congregation Shma Koleinu Blog.

The Big Apple

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Dear Friends,

Welcome to the CSK Blog. With the help of our wonderful new employee, Laura Nelson, Director of Communications and Programming, this blog is a fantastic opportunity for us to share ideas with each other. To the best of my ability, I will write 2-3 entries a week and I look forward to your feedback. Whether you’re reading these at home or at work, or maybe even during services ;), I hope you’ll let me know, ask questions, comment and share your thoughts. There’ll be no rhyme or reason to the topics of these blogs other than life’s meanderings and moments of inspiration.

Heeeeeeeerrrrrrreeee’s Johnny!

On the latest Daily Show, Jon Stewart began rooting and hollering that the year 2015 had begun. But much to his dismay, the pundits, whose quotes played on the screen behind his head, insisted over and over again that while this may be the beginning of 2015, its actually the beginning of 2016 and the run for the White House. So, with a bit of malaise, he smashed his 2015 glasses and exchanged them for his 2016 version. “I buy my new years glasses by the decade,” he explained.

But then, he introduced the first candidates who have announced or almost announced their race for the White House. What follows is a litany of the organizations and professional and consulting positions from which these early candidates are resigning, as well as teasers that don’t quite confirm their plan to run. If there is anything unique about the upcoming Presidential odyssey over the next two years, it may very well be a unique game of “Chicken.” Rather than spend any meaningful amount of time focused on what they plan to do, this season may promise to be filled with a presidential game of Dodge Ball. Now, I don’t know about you, but as appealing as a Will Farrell-esque version of Dodge Ball, pitting a pugnacious Jeb Bush against a squirly Hillary Clinton might be, its not exactly how I’d like to choose the next president. Perhaps a New Year’s resolution is called for.

Ahhh, there’s nothing like the New Year. Be it “Auld Lang Zyne” or “L’shanah Tovah,” we human beings just can’t get enough of that temporal sentiment that life is short and we must change , inspired by ends and beginnings. But whether its an apple dropping in Time’s Square or a slice of apple dipped into honey, none of us will ever truly experience anything new at any moment if we cannot simply show up and then stand still.

Showing up means bringing our whole selves to attention and ensuring that when we choose, we remember that we are indeed fully in control of those choices we make. If we live our lives with a constant side-glance to the “spread,” never fully willing to make a decision and then stand by it with assurance, where are we?

Standing still is a practice in humility. Constant movement may make us look like we’re very busy and very important but the only true and lasting experiences in life are those we embrace with far more than a twist of the head to see who might be watching us do such important things.

So for all of us, and for all of the Presidential candidates, who will come and go over the next flurry of months, here’s the best advice around. An old professor of mine taught, “Look, being a Rabbi is pretty simple as long as you remember one thing. Be yourself. …

…Unless you’re a schmuck, then be somebody else.”

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