On Rosh Hashanah we hear the blast of the shofar, a primal call that has been heard by our people for thousands of years. The sound connects us to our sacred past and inspires us to imagine a better future. It reminds us of the still, small voice that dwells within each of us. It is a charge to our entire community to come together and move forward.
The high holidays offer us the chance to look back at where we’ve been over the past year and forward to where we aim to go in the year to come; to reflect on who we are today and who we aspire to become. The introspection is important for us as individuals and as a community.
This year, the spirit of these holy days is particularly meaningful for me as I embark on one of the most significant journeys of my life — my new role as President and CEO of CJP. This position requires both reflection and active engagement with the diverse communities who make up the tapestry of Greater Boston’s Jewish community.
Over my many years of living and leading in Boston's Jewish community, our strengths have become abundantly clear to me. Chief among them are the committed volunteers, generous donors, and the talented and inspirational team of professionals working inside and beyond CJP.
We have a solid foundation built by you, our generous supporters and volunteers, and by Barry Shrage’s leadership over more than three decades. His dedication, innovation, and love for the Jewish people and this community knows no bounds. Thank you, Barry!
Now is also a time to ask ourselves the most important questions: Who do we want to be as a community? How can we strengthen existing relationships while also creating new ones? How can we connect, innovate, and collaborate to better serve this community, the Jewish future, and our world?
These are some of the questions I ask to better understand CJP and our community and the opportunities and challenges we face. Over the next weeks and months, I will be embarking on a new project, “The 360Five: One Year, Five Questions, Many Voices” — a listening tour that is intended to broaden and deepen my connections to our community and sharpen CJP’s focus on our most critical needs and priorities. I look forward to learning with and from many of you throughout the year, so please keep an eye out for emails about 360Five events all around the area.
This is an extraordinary moment and a new beginning with limitless possibilities. Together, we can continue to build one vibrant Greater Boston Jewish community made up of many strong, thriving, and interconnected communities and institutions. Together, we can ensure that the 250,000 Jews in our area are even more engaged with Jewish life, the Jewish people, and Israel. We can take even greater care of our most vulnerable populations and contribute our unique Jewish voices, values, and actions to the sacred work of creating the Jewish future and improving the world.
As we begin again this new year, I am honored and humbled to join CJP and all of you. I can't wait to embark on this journey together.
May it be a year of learning and growth for each of us and for our whole community. And, may you and your family have a sweet, happy, and healthy 5779.
Rabbi Marc Baker
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Rabbi Marc Baker explains how the High Holidays are a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go as a community.