In the Hebrew calendar, today marks Rosh Chodesh Av, or the new month of Av.
Rosh Chodesh, or the celebration of the new Jewish month, has long been sacred to women. Why? The special connection hearkens back to the story of the golden calf. The legend goes that the women of Israel refused to surrender their gold and jewels for the creation of the golden calf. As a reward, the women were given an extra day to refrain from work and mundane duties.
The Israelites had just spent more than two centuries in slavery in Egypt, where idolatry was the normal practice. When Moses went up to Mount Sinai and was gone for an extended period of time, the Israelites built the Golden Calf for worship. As we know, old habits die hard and maybe it is understandable why the Israelites reverted back to their old practice of idol worship, rather than trusting in Moses and his message. When Moses returned and found the Israelite’s worshipping the golden calf, he was furious.
The story of the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land could have ended with the golden calf in the desert. In his fury, Moses could have abandoned his people and not provided the opportunity for redemption. It took time for Moses to forgive and for the Israelites to rebuild trust. But, they did. This moment in time in the story ultimately serves as a beginning of the next chapter of the relationship between Moses and the Israelites.
It is said that women’s non participation in the building and worship of the golden calf is a symbol of their strong faith and devotion. As we celebrate each new month we are reminded of this important story of faith, forgiveness and gratitude.
Like our cyclical nature of the Torah, our Federation is cyclical in nature too. At the end of July we finished our 2016 annual campaign and I am so happy to report that we reached the projected dollar amount needed to be able to fulfill our board approved allocations to our local, national and international beneficiary agencies. I would like to thank personally everyone who generously supported the annual campaign. We would not be able to meet the needs of our community without you.
As we finished 2016, we were well into plans for 2017. I am so excited about our Federation kick-off Opening Event on September 8 (click here for details). The theme of the evening, Writing our Next Chapter Together, ties the strong foundation of Federation with the opportunity to envision our Jewish future in Rochester and around the globe. It will be a great evening of delicious food, inspiring words and the magical music of David Broza. Click here for the song Yihye Tov, Things Will Be Better, David’s first song, most well-known and my personal favorite. David is perhaps the most notable modern Israeli singer-songwriter.
I hope that you can come to this important event when we are able to set the stage for our future. Just as women showed their faith in not building the golden calf and Moses remained steadfast to his commitment to the Israelites, our Federation remains deeply and totally committed to the future of the Jewish people. Our faith in our community remains unwavering and we are committed to building on the relationships of the past and creating new ones for the future.
Together we have the opportunity to create the type of Jewish community that serves the needs of all people and provides enriching and meaningful experiences. It is my pleasure to begin writing our next chapter with you at our opening event. It is my sincere hope and dream that you will be a part of the next chapter of Jewish Rochester.
Click here to register.
Meredith Dragon, CEO