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Cantor Jeff Warschauer
TJC Newsletter Article for November 2020

 

Dear TJC Friends,
I’d like to begin by once again offering special thanks and kudos to all who organized and participated in the High Holiday services
this year. We worked together as a community to imbue a difficult time with meaning and music, and I am very grateful to all. I am
also so grateful to the Bar and Bat Mitzvah families. With flexibility, innovation and hard work, these families are keeping this
important rite of passage alive and well, and we shep naches from each and every one of them!

Now we are in the month of Cheshvan, also known as Marcheshvan, the only month in the Jewish calendar that lacks a holiday,
or even a fast day. (The history and etymology of this month is actually quite interesting and complex. Encyclopedia Judaica, for
instance, says that Marcheshvan is believed to be etymologically connected with “Arahsammu,” the Assyrian word for “eighth
month.”)

In some ways, Marcheshvan can bring with it a sigh of relief from the intensity of Tishrei and its full dance card of holidays. But
without holidays there can also be a feeling of sadness and loss, leading some Ashkenazim to interpret the “mar,” in Marcheshvan,
to be connected to the Hebrew word for “bitter.” Some also interpret the term “Mar” as relating to the Hebrew word for “mister,”
perhaps seeing this as a way to shore up this month by giving it a special title of respect!

And maybe this month does embody some special significance. Free from the extra special events and responsibilities, perhaps it
actually offers us a tremendous opportunity. What if it’s a chance for us to take the hope and newness of Rosh Hashanah, the
self-reflection and self-assessment of Yom Kippur, and the beauty and joy of Sukkot and Simchat Torah and really integrate these
things into our lives with renewed purpose? What if Cheshvan actually gives us time and space to act on the good intentions and
good feelings of Tishrei?

The weather is growing colder and the days are darkening, but we can carry the light and promise of Tishrei into this new month.
And don’t forget, we also have a built-in chance for celebration each week. Through the magic of Zoom and live-stream, we can
connect to each other every Shabbat with prayers and music.

Deborah and I wish you all a beautiful and meaningful Cheshvan!

Cantor Jeff

Please contact me at cantorjeff@thejewishcenter.org, or (347) 623-4228.
 
Cantor Jeff Warschauer