The way that our monthly Shalom KI Bulletin works is that by the 15th of this month, I must have everything ready and planned for March, in order for it to be on time. Therefore, this week, I have been thoroughly enjoying putting the finishing touches on what will be a fabulous ‘80s Purim Prom and Megillah Reading, that we hope you will all come to on Wednesday, March 20th!
Now I know that you are thinking, why is my Cantor already talking about March when it is only January? Of course, part of my job as your cantor is to make sure that the Jewish Holidays are celebrated with the best music, spirit, and energy at KI, which requires much planning and consideration. There is precedent in the Torah for planning ahead, in fact, in this week’s Torah portion, Bo; we are down to the final plagues to the Passover Story!
Just as it may not make sense to you why I am talking about Purim in January, the Torah also is preparing us for Passover in the middle of winter! Wouldn’t it better if the Passover story in the Torah lined up with the actual celebration in the Spring? We do read excerpts of the story on the Shabbat of Passover, but that is because we have returned to the Book of Exodus just for that Shabbat.
I think all of us need a dose of the Exodus story in the beginning of the New Year, since this portion is generally in the month of January. It also seems that the story of the Exodus and MLK, Jr. Day coincide each year to remind us of our story of freedom from Egypt and our journey to the Promised Land. We should recall the words of Dr. King: ...”And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.” (Martin Luther King Jr., Speech in Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before King was assassinated.)
We can begin our year remembering the gift of leadership from Moses and Dr.King. who parted the seas of change. While this may not be the beginning of the Jewish calendar, the reboot of the secular calendar reminds us to reconnect with our powerful stories. You can count on the stories in the Torah and the bulletin deadlines to remind you the ways we are connected to our heritage and our community. May 2019 be a year filled with joy and happiness!
Cantor Amy Levy