We Bring Warmth in the Cold

While it will be tough to compete with the weather for any news this week, I am going to try, especially because there is so much warmth to share after this past weekend. Even given our first burst of cold, we had at least a double minyan brave the weather to celebrate Shabbat together and explore Reconstructionist thought. From Rabbi Brusin’s story of discovering RRC when he did not fit in anywhere else, to acknowledging that our congregational growing edge may be in our exploring the role and experience of our non-Jewish members and guests, we touched on a wide variety of issues and ideas, both personal and communal. Missed it? Look for a reprise of the learning as an Adult Education program in the coming weeks.

After enjoying a very low key Shabbat day with my family, I experienced an amazing Sunday which contained concentric circles of lovely people and energy. That morning, I was honored to be at the funeral for Barbara Lutsky’s father, Milton Schwartz. I had never met Milton, and learned that this was a man who epitomized the idea of a mentsch.  He was hailed as considerate and thoughtful, a man who listened more than he spoke, treated every person with respect, supported his family and his business with diligence and care, and kissed his beloved wife hello and goodbye every day of his life, while appreciating every kindness she, and all, bestowed upon him. How grateful I was to be reminded that there were, and still are, people like Milton Schwartz in our world.

Next on the calendar was our Shir annual meeting, highlighting our activities of the past year. With updates to our dues structure, our administrative organization, our space, and our board leadership, CSH is ever evolving! The energy was upbeat and positive. See below for more details about the meeting and opportunities for getting involved as we continue to build our programming at CSH and in the wider MKE community.

Finally, I was this month’s host for the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee’s “Amazing Faiths” dinner. Ten participants representing eight faith groups, plus a moderator, enjoyed a light meal in our dining room and explored how faith works in their lives and traditions. While our role was limited to providing food and space, we definitely absorbed the energy of fellowship. I spent part of the evening sitting just beyond the dining room door catching up on the days email, and so appreciated the counterpoint that the conversation behind me made to the daily news!

If you have not been to any of the IFC’s programs I hope you take a look. On February 24, I will be helping with the second installment of the “Amazing Faiths Dinner 2.0” program, which features a presentation by a local faith community (Ba’hai this time) followed by a shared meal and conversation. As I noted at Sunday’s meeting, my community efforts have decidedly been in the areas of interfaith and justice work, including the Black-Jewish caucus, the Jewish-Catholic programs at the Federation as well as the Lux Center, as well as the IFC, and, of course, MICAH and THI.

Sadly, all these warm relationships will not be enough to protect us from the arctic conditions out there, so stay warm and safe. Good news is it sounds like we will have a reprieve before Shabbat!