Rededicate yourself to Temple Rodeph Torah: try a new class; try a new social action project; try a new worship experience; even try having coffee or dinner with a new family to broaden your social circle and be inviting to others.
During the holiday season, we are supposed to reflect on the past year and dedicate ourselves to changes for the future year. It is a chance to see if we lived up to our own expectations of ourselves and in what way we ought to rebalance our lives to better fulfill our commitments to ourselves, our loved ones, and God. Last year, as I stood on the bima for Yom Kippur, I was preparing for our last chance of becoming parents again. We had one frozen embryo and decided it was now or never. I was nervous, convinced it wouldn't work, but also terrified it would. Before getting married Jacob, and I had discussed having children, we said somewhere between two and four, but of course, I never expected to have so much trouble conceiving in the first place. Now that I had wonderful, healthy, amazing twins, was I pushing my luck, was I being greedy asking for another? Was it possible for us to be so blessed again, not just with the blessing of another child, but with a healthy, good sleeper, happy baby? How many times had I heard "if this child had been our first, we would have only had one!" (Understandable sentiment but terrifying for those considering another child.) We were happy. Would I be messing up the whole family by adding another child? But we threw these fears out and said let's try anyway. I'm not sure I really believed it would work. Why would this embryo take when others had not? Would I truly be able to say goodbye to the dream if it didn't?
But it did. Our embryo transferred and implanted, and I was pregnant. It was amazing to me that something which just a few years ago had been the happiest, dream-fulfilling experience was now filled with trepidation. Yes, I chose this; yes I knew I would love another child, but I couldn't help but question if it was the right thing. I felt like a bad mother to Evie and Bri when the pregnancy made me too ill or uncomfortable to give them my full self.
Now we have our amazing son, Brian, and I can hardly believe I was worried. He is a happy baby, who is already a great sleeper. It's been just a few short months, and already I cannot imagine my family without three children. What was I worried about?
So now I rededicate myself. I dedicate myself to re-balancing as a mother, making sure that there is time for all my children, that I don't always prioritize Brian over the girls, making sure he learns the patience they were required to learn as twins, and making sure all my children feel loved and cared for. I re-dedicate myself to my work, creating and innovating, attempting to find ever better ways to connect people through music and prayer to God and the Jewish people. We have many creative worship experiences planned for the coming year, from Rock Shabbat with new guest artists to a havdallah pot luck, to a dinner/study/worship evening.
There are many different ways for us to come together to learn, to pray, to sing, and to be a community. As my family grows and learns how to care for each other and be part of a larger world, so too do I hope you will try something new. Rededicate yourself to Temple Rodeph Torah: try a new class; try a new social action project; try a new worship experience; even try having coffee or dinner with a new family to broaden your social circle and be inviting to others. In this time of Holidays, we look back at the past year to discover what worked and where we might have missed the mark. Let us take new aim and remember the balance God asks of us. "Im ein ani li mi li? Uch'sh'ani l'atzmi mah ani? V'im lo achshav eimatai?" If I am not for myself who will be for me? If I am only for myself what am I? If not now when? We must be "selfish" and protect our self-interest, for who else will? But if all we are is selfish, what is the purpose? So we must also consider other people. And if we failed yesterday, then we try again today.
Every year we dedicate ourselves to returning to the self we can be. And every day we have a new chance to adjust our aim and be more successful in that dedication.
Thank You God for blessing me with my children and my family; please watch over them and bless us with health.
Please, God, help me to rebalance my life as a working mother; help me to find inspiration and continue to inspire others to find love of Judaism and love of You. Thank You for the opportunity to address myself and the world through Your holidays and commandments. May we all be blessed with seeing the fulfillment of our dreams; seeing less violence in the world, and the knowledge that we are doing all we can to help repair the world. Thank You for this blessing and charge.