The shelter of Your peace…
Ufros Aleinu Sukkat Shelomecha – spread over us the shelter of Your peace. These words are sung each night we gather for worship on Shabbat and holy days. This past Sunday, our Men’s Club did an outstanding job building our Sukkah – our temporary shelter for Sukkot – the holiday of our fall harvest which we celebrate this first week of October. As the cool autumn rain falls upon it, our awareness of the fleeting nature of life is heightened. The seasons change, the leaves change, the weather changes, we change. Nothing is permanent, Ecclesiastes reminds us in the reading for this festival holiday. And so, while we are here, we pray that our days may find a bit of shelter from life’s storms; that we will find protection with a measure of Shalom, of peace.
Most of us are familiar with the Hebrew word Shalom. Often translated as ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, and ‘peace’, Shalom has as its core meaning not a salutation or farewell saying. Instead, embedded in the root of the word Shalom is the concept of wholeness. That sense of wholeness is what we hope for our friends when we first greet them and when we say goodbye to them.
This week we extend that hope to a dear friend of Or Chadash. After nearly three years, a new baby and a move from New Jersey to Pennsylvania (nearly an hour away from us), our temple administrator, Jaimee Gold, is moving on to pursue work closer to home and spend more time to be with her husband, Matt, and her two children, Paxton and Declan. Always smiling, Jaimee has been an integral part of OC while she has been here, helping each of us connect with the people, programs, classes, worship services, trips and diverse opportunities that make our congregation the warm and inclusive place that it is. She has tirelessly answered any questions we might have had – sometimes even at crazy hours, is ever-talented with a plethora of software and web applications, and nearly effortlessly juggles a zillion details that make our synagogue work so smoothly. Jaimee’s presence here will be greatly missed. As we transition to a new individual, Jaimee will be working to help me, Betsy, and Jeff so OC can continue to operate fully. As part of the Gold family, Jaimee will always have a place here, and it’s likely you might see her, Matt and the kids, and her in-laws, Harvey and Kathy, at a future Or Chadash event.
Undoubtedly, we wish Jaimee ‘Shalom v’hatzlacha’ – Wholeness/Peace and success in her new endeavors. We also say: L’hitraot – we look forward to seeing you again. If you are at OC this Thursday, please stop in the office to wish her well.
May this holiday of Sukkot bring all of us a measure of Shalom.
Rabbi Joseph M. Forman