A New Year’s greeting- T’shuvah, T’filah, Tzedakah

It is not news that much of Oahu’s Jewish community has been in turmoil lately. The Honolulu Star Advertiser covered some of it in stories that were published last month. As with any conflict, there is a lot more to it than the newspaper reporter can capture or communicate in a few articles.

Recent events have made a huge impact on our family. While my husband and I have much to say and this topic tends to dominate our dinner table discussion and other daily conversations, I am conflicted about what to post. My personal perspective and disappointment leave me feeling a bit paralyzed–not for action, but in finding the right words.

Our actions certainly speak for themselves. We quit our membership at Temple Emanu-El Honolulu. For us, it’s about the process, which was anything but transparent.

It’s about the disparity between control and leadership. It’s about the fact that the leadership made their decisions based on only one perspective and completely disregarded any sense of compromise with or consideration of ours. It’s about zero tolerance for  leaders who resort to bullying and physical abuse to get their way.

The Sunday School deteriorated from bad to worse and they refused to address the issue in a timely manner due to their single-minded agenda in regards to getting rid of the Rabbi. It has not been as amicable as some might suggest.

We will not be a part of the Temple Emanu-El congregation for the beginning of 5772. We will attend High Holy Days services at Aloha Jewish Chapel where my husband and I met over nine years ago. Our courtship was spent celebrating Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the seats of this congregation.  We have returned each year for Shabbat services and holidays. Our family will reflect on the past year and welcome in the new one from those same seats.

I will embrace this time for t’shuvah (repentance,) t’filah (prayer,) and tzedakah (justice.)

I found some cool thoughts on this in “The Torah In Haiku” on an RJ blog and am happy to share it with you.

My friend Toby sent a link to a You Tube video that is worth sharing. It’s a nice new year greeting and the sentiment is warm.

L’shanah Tovah U M’Tukah.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. A.R.S.
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 02:39:00

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too cancelled my family membership at Temple Emanu-El. Did so on 9/14/12. Very sad but I concur with your sentiments. You are not alone. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.


  2. Barbara
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 02:42:06

    Wherever you pray I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. The Aloha chapel is very special, that is where “we” had our first date.
    My love to you ,


  3. lauriehanan
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 03:45:52

    I’m truly sorry things have come to this at the temple. If we had somewhere else to go, maybe our family would leave too. We can’t go to Aloha Chapel because we aren’t military. Chabad isn’t a good fit for many reasons. After 10+ years of attending Sof Ma’arav we’ve outgrown them. With my son two years away from his bar mitzvah, I want to keep things as “normal” as possible for him. He still has many good friends at Temple E. He has bonded with his Hebrew school teacher for several years, as well as the SJS director and the cantor. He actually begs to go to temple and is upset when we can’t make it. As disappointed as I am with recent events at the temple, I believe it would do more harm than good to tear my kids away, especially the youngest. We’ll be hanging in there and will miss you and your family.

    L’shanah Tovah U M’Tukah. May 5773 be a better year.


  4. Melanie Rabiroff
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 04:06:38

    Dear Lorrie,
    Thank you for sharing what is so difficult for so many of us to talk about…We have also resigned our membership at Temple Emanu-el..It was a very painful decision as my family ties there go back to 1959…However,with the recent disrespectful and mean spirited actions of the lay leadership,we cannot in good conscience attach our names to a place that has degraded the entire Jewish community…We pray for the return of peace and respectful treatment of all…For now, we will look for a place that represents the Shalom that we are all searching for…It no longer exists as a safe place at Temple Emanu-el…
    L’hana tova tikatevu…May this New Year bring blessings…


    • Being Jewish in Hawaii
      Sep 17, 2012 @ 04:21:26

      Thank you Melanie. I have enjoyed becoming Facebook friends with you and look forward to getting to know each other. L’shanah Tovah to you and your family.


      • Melanie Rabiroff
        Sep 17, 2012 @ 04:26:26

        Please stay in touch…I hope we can reunite under better circumstances in the future…Thanks for all of your passion and compassion for our Keiki..xox


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