Shabbat Shalom, 

This week’s Torah portion, Lech L’cha, starts out with the saying, “Go forth from your land, your birthplace, your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” For those who are familiar with the great songwriter Debbie Friedman, this may sound familiar from her famous song Lechi Lach (to a land that I will show you).  

What I love about writing these articles is that it gives me the opportunity to reflect on new meanings to phrases I’ve been reading my entire life. Growing up at a Jewish day school in Kansas, I had to memorize this phrase in Hebrew in the third grade. Back then I had no idea what I was really saying, but today the meaning behind the phrase “to the land that I will show you,” has so much meaning.  

Let’s compare “the land that I will show you” to our current situation at Temple Jeremiah. We do not know how things will look like moving forward, but we push forward regardless, making the best of our unknowns. Going towards the start of J-Quest at Temple Jeremiah, we tried our best to get ready for a year that would look different than any other. Yet we push forward with trust in God and ourselves that things will work out for the best. Lech L’cha, as we journey into our new realities together.  

As I think of all the family dynamics going on for the people of Israel, having to trust God’s word of safety and a brighter future, I think of how difficult it must have been on the parents of families. It must have been difficult to always maintain a positive and optimistic outlook during those hard times. However, as the story goes, God fulfilled his promise and now generations later, here we are.  

I know these past two years have been difficult journeys for all of us, but I want to personally thank you for joining Temple Jeremiah on this journey. As our J-Quest and other Temple programming continues to evolve, I want to thank you for trusting us to take you into the new land that we are being shown together. Things may not always look the same as we are used to, but slowly and surely, we will continue to advance, celebrate, and gather as a community moving towards the future, to the land that we will be shown, together.  

Shabbat Shalom, 

Matt Rissien