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A LETTER FROM RABBI BAUMAN
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Here is a familiar scene: a child stands with her back against the wall of the bedroom or garage while her parent draws a horizontal line over her head. Then she takes a step forward, turns around excitedly, and is instantly amazed at how much she’s grown. Year by year, measure by measure, the notches tell a story about her life, the way her body is reaching higher and higher and all the pains and joys that this process embodies. The wall is a fixture, a steady and stalwart companion to the dynamic life of the human being who stands beside it.
Another familiar scene: a ship is pitching and tossing in the waves. The night is dark and stormy. The captain is weary, the crew anxious. And then, a blessed light appears on the horizon. As the ship approaches, the beam from the lighthouse grows brighter and brighter, illuminating the safe harbor and beaconing the ship homeward. Relief, gratitude, tears of joy abound as the passengers realize that their journey, at least for the time being, is over. There is a safe place to rest before they return to sea.
Year after year our High Holidays arise. They are the wall of our growth chart, providing a fixture, a steady and stalwart companion to our dynamic human lives. They are the lighthouse that guides us back to shore, to the essence of who we are after months of journeying, and by whose light we can see how much we’ve changed. They are our touchstone, the prayers, songs and rituals reminding us that we are part of a global, eternal Jewish family and at the same time each on our own individual journeys doing the holy work of refining our souls and the actions that flow from them.
This year, it is my joy and humbling honor to welcome you home to Touro for the High Holidays. Yes, this is a year of transition for our congregation. But when we pray Avinu Malkeinu, when we stand before an open ark for Kol Nidrei, when we hear the sound of the shofar, we will be reminded of how strong a congregation we are, how resilient we are as New Orleanians and Southern Jews, and how profound our calling is to do the work of teshuvah.
The holiday observances that are contained in this bulletin are each opportunities to engage with these holy days, with Touro Synagogue as a congregation, and with our own spiritual quest. From Selichot when we begin our holiday season, to the dedication of our exquisite new Torah Scroll, to the observance of Yizkor on Simchat Torah morning, let us draw strength from one another and from the sturdy framework our tradition provides, within which we have room to grow and change.
Our clergy team looks so forward to greeting you during this holiday season and to sharing with you in coming bulletins our vision for this year, a vision we will all build together. Thank you for your warm welcome to me and to my family. We are so grateful to be a part of this community. Given our newness, it is perhaps ironic that I shall say the following, but I can’t help it. On behalf of our board, our members, our leadership team, and myself: Welcome Home!
WELCOME TO TOURO SYNAGOGUE
With historic roots and a progressive heart, Touro Synagogue is a community that is filled with beautiful contradictions – a grand, historic sanctuary and an intimate, embracing chapel; an active group of knowledgeable sages and a vibrant young adult community; a love of enduring Jewish traditions and a drive for spiritual innovation and forward motion; a commitment to the inner life of our congregational family and a constant energetic force that engages with the renewal of greater New Orleans. Please join us as we work together, making Touro Synagogue a place of transformative prayer, expansive thought, fearless engagement, and love.
We value the uniqueness of each congregant and we are committed to providing a community that is inclusive
and accessible. If you or someone in your family requires special accommodations in order to access the fullness of synagogue life, please contact the office at (504) 895-4843.