I have had a very special morning today; up at 4:30 to stand with three people who after two years (and more) of learning and practice have joined the holy covenant. After each person met with a Beit Din, this morning they (sequentially) entered the waters of life at very first light for mikvah. They each recited blessings of immersion and new beginnings, and then sang the Sh’ma. It was a sacred moment for us all. Carolyn, Stephen and Nina – welcome to the tribe!

As I was approaching that first mikvah I thought what a treasury of rituals we have in our tradition, and how powerful and transformative those rituals can be. We don’t live our lives in isolation, even as our lives may be private. Shabbat, our liturgical holidays, separating our dishes, fleishigs from milchigs, putting up a mezuzah – all these everyday habits make our lives both unique and utterly connected.

As each of these candidates spoke to us about their journey towards choosing Judaism, we were struck by the connections that were established – sometimes decades ago – that acted as guideposts en route to Kolot Mayim. Some of those guideposts were geographical – Calgary and Sooke were mentioned several times – and some were with people who we all knew in other circles.

We truly only have a very few degrees of separation between us – and that connection too is a holy opportunity. As we are now in the month of Elul, if we blow our shofar in the morning, we call out to the worlds we live within – in the words of Isaiah we hear, “Rise up and shine, for the light and glory of God shines upon you.” Standing in the waters, under the stars this morning, we truly felt that light and glory. May we all be so blessed in these days ahead.

With love,Rabbi Lynn