Picture it, a rabble of exhausted Jews, scrambling up a dusty hill, slipping and sliding on the loose pebbles, clinging to each other for strength. Just one snapshot of the Temple Sinai Fifth Annual Retreat. Attended by a hundred people, there were so many memorable moments. But the thing that was most pleasing was that the purpose for which Temple Sinai exists, namely warm and welcoming community, lifelong learning, soulful worship and social justice came alive in the course of the event.
It is such a pleasure to be part of a vibrant community which lives its values. An event where Jews learn, pray and deepen relationships with each other is an ideal event in my book. The best part of it was that all the generations were together, kids, parents, grandparents, enjoying each other’s company and bringing a dynamism to the experience. The aim of a retreat is to enclose the participants in a rather intense bubble of Jewish community which encapsulates the best of what Judaism has to offer. A bubble, because they are away from their normal environment, particularly since there is no cell phone coverage. Intense because they are living with people instead of just seeing them on Friday night or Saturday morning. At the other end of the retreat, you drive from Mount Charleston only around thirty minutes to your house and you feel like you have been on a different planet! You return refreshed and reinvigorated, recommitted to the values that are important to our shul.
Therefore, it behooves me to make mention of Jackie and Shel Kolner, our redoubtable Retreat Committee chairs along with their wonderful partners in crime, Laura Sussman, Eileen Sherman, Nancy Sherman, Aimee Knox, Josh Knox, Eileen and Bob Levin, Les Gilbert, Ryan Reisman, Suzanne Feigenson and Dr. Sharon Knafo. I appreciate everything you did.
Now for next year!
L’shalom/To Peace Rabbi Malcolm Cohen