Thanksgiving Email from TST 2023

Posted on April 17, 2024

Dear TST Family, As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, our hearts are full of many emotions. We feel enormously grateful for our TST community and appreciative of the opportunity that Thanksgiving provides to pause and reflect. Yet, our hearts still ache with the heaviness of the past several weeks and the present moment. As our ancient sages wisely articulated in the Talmud (Moed Katan 25b), “Joy and suffering have become joined together.” We imagine that you might also be feeling many different emotions all at once. Whether you are warmly welcoming the opportunity to lean into joy and gratitude this Thanksgiving, or you are struggling to face the holiday, we hope you will find comfort in the deep well of wisdom that Judaism has to offer in this moment. Our Jewish tradition tells us that it is okay to set certain grieving practices aside in order to experience joy. The Mishnah (Mishnah Moed Katan 3:9) suggests that we limit our lamentations during chag (holidays) and imagine a world in which the words of Isaiah 25:8 have been realized: “Adonai will wipe the tears away From all faces And will put an end to the reproach of God’s people-g Over all the earth.” To live into this verse does not mean that we pretend our tears are dry- it means that we can take a moment to live as if our tears have been wiped away. This text gives us permission to share in laughter around the Thanksgiving table and to embrace connection and sweetness when possible. In that spirit, we offer you a list of tangible ways to lean into that sweetness by practicing the middah (literally “measure” or “soul trait”) of hakarat hatov this Thanksgiving (recognizing the good). Hakarat Hatov is not merely about saying “thank you”,  it is about being mindful of our blessings and actively looking for the good even when things aren’t going well. Additionally, we know that gathering family and friends around the table isn’t always easy.  For all of you who are anticipating navigating difficult conversations this Thanksgiving, we offer you some concrete suggestions for navigating difficult conversations in this time of increased tension such as this moment. Please click on the buttons below to download the Hakarat Hatov and Difficult Conversations resources. Hakarat Hatov – Appreciating the good resources Difficult conversations resource sheet Wherever you are on this long weekend, and whatever emotions you carry in your heart, the Shir Tikva staff is here to support you. Bivracha (with blessings), The TST Leadership Team Senior Rabbi Danny Burkeman Cantor Hollis Schachner Rabbi Lisa Eiduson Student Rabbi Heather Renetzky Dan Brosgol, Executive Director Alison Weikel, Director of Education Stephanie Lerner, ELC Director