Tidewater’s Jewish community is committed to Teshuvah, Tefila, and Tzedakkah

by | Sep 25, 2017 | Featured

We have now completed the month of Elul, a time when individuals begin to intensify their process of repentance in anticipation of the Yamim Noraim or the Days of Awe. It is during Elul that individuals will begin offering sincere apologies to and seeking forgiveness from those whom they have wronged during the past year. It is Elul that will culminate in the special Slichot service where the special prayers offering repentance and seeking forgiveness from G-D has begun.

We have celebrated Rosh Hashannah, dipped our apples in honey in the hope for a sweet year, heard the Shofar and its call for us to look inward and repent for our sins and have been preliminarily judged by G-d regarding our inscription in the Book of Life for the coming year. Nevertheless, we have the period between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur to perform the mitzvot of Teshuvah, Tefila, and Tzeddakah to finalize our inscription in the Book of Life.

There are many discussions whether a community, an organization, or a country can commit Teshuvah or that it must be limited only to individuals so that the act of repentance and forgiveness is truly taken to one’s heart. There are those who debate the issue of Christian Teshuvah and the use of the word by the Papacy at the Jubilee 2000 when Pope John Paul II focused his efforts on putting an end to the enmity that has existed between Jews and Christians-Catholics over much of the past 2,000 years. There are rabbis who believe that a collective undertaking by a congregation toward a particular cause of ‘Social Justice” is a collective act of Teshuvah.

The debates may continue, but it is clear that one can build a community and culture that nurtures an individual’s commitment to Teshuvah, Tefila, and Tzedakkah. We believe that Tidewater has been and will be such a community where its members accept the responsibility of the mitzvot. It is a community that is inclusive and whose members live their lives as to be worthy, as stated in this week’s parsha Haazinu, of living in the land of Israel.

We are proud of our community and feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead during this wonderful age for our people. We wish everybody a sweet, healthy and happy New Year and may you all be inscribed in the Book of Life. Finally, let us celebrate together throughout the year the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel and may we continue to live our lives accordingly.

John Strelitz

Harry Graber
Executive Vice-President