Recently I was sitting with a couple that is getting married, and I asked them – “How did you know that you were right for each other?” And they looked back at me and said, “You know, there wasn’t one moment. It just felt like home.”
Finding our place, whether that be in our career, our relationships or our synagogue is a challenging thing to describe, which is ironic because it’s not a challenging thing to feel! In an ideal world, you know when you know. Something extraordinary feels like it has just snapped into place. There is an immediate sense of comfort, of belonging, and an exhale of the soul. A breath you didn’t know you were holding is let go and suddenly you realize ‘Yes! This is where I should be.”
But that sense of immediate belonging is not always part of our everyday world. The rest of the time, we must build relationships and establish our places over months, days and years. Most of our relationships deepen over time and first impressions are not always lasting. It requires maintenance too. Like friendships, feeling like you belong is built up action by action- moment by moment.
In the Jewish world today, we are talking more and more about engagement. A model of intentionally creating that feeling of belonging. Cultivating practices so that the sensation of homecoming is a part of the culture of our space, rather than a happy accident for those lucky enough to experience it.
Holy Blossom has been working on being ‘engaging’ for a long time. It’s why a synagogue as large as ours often feels small and intimate. It’s why the clergy are always happy to make the time for you, to have coffee or share a meal, to hear about what’s going on in your life. It’s why our staff is so present with you, both at simchas and sorrows. It’s why our leadership is so passionate about this sacred community.
But there’s always more we can do, and more people we can reach out to. We believe there’s an entire generation out there that is waiting for someone to open the door and invite them in. This is why our leadership has bravely created a new position, a Director of Outreach and Next Gen Engagement, to help the next generation of Jewish families find their homes, to exhale, here at Holy Blossom. That connection might happen in a moment or over the course of many conversations, and now it has one more steward to help it grow.
I may be biased, but I know that Rabbi Baruchel is dedicated to making sure that our synagogue is a beautiful home for generations to come. I have no doubt that in the coming years, we will look around our community and see many new faces who love Holy Blossom the same way that we do- and in entirely new ways as well.
I hope that you will join me in welcoming her. Please don’t hesitate to help her in her sacred work by connecting Rabbi Baruchel with young people you know who need a sacred space to call their home.
Mazel Tov to us all!