forgiveness

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”
This statement, from Rabbi Ken Cohen, is truly worth considering

Apologize? I know people who can’t get the words, “I’m sorry” out of their mouths. They sometimes will say, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” IFyou hurt me? Obviously you did or you wouldn’t have gotten this far. But “if” I hurt you is not an apology. Why can’t these folks just say it? Because they are afraid; afraid that admitting wrong doing will make them subject to derision. It does indeed take courage to make yourself vulnerable by admitting an error or wrong doing. I know families whose members remain fractured because one or more people are not brave enough to acknowledge that they are human, fallible and have done something wrong to another person.
Do be brave. Is there someone that you are uncomfortable seeing because you know you have wounded them? Don’t waste time trying to justify your self. Pray, talk to your clergy person, read about how to apologize even when it scares you.

Forgive? Being able to forgive someone is tremendously liberating. It means you are not waiting for someone else to act. If you can forgive and move on, you own your life. No, don’t keep deceivers or hurtful people in your life. But forgive those people you love for being imperfect – you probably are imperfect too.

Forget? This one is a bit trickier. Utterly forgetting what transpired is not a good idea. But we do get to chose what and how we remember. A year and a half ago my sister died after a brief struggle with cancer. While we had been very close when we were younger she had become a very angry adult. She requested, through our other sister, that I not attempt to see her. It was hard but I promised. In the last weeks of her life her son told me to come see her. I was so conflicted as I felt I had made a promise to her and wanted to honor it. But in the end I went. She was a shriveled scrap of her self; it was shocking. As soon as she saw me she started to cry. I went to her and hugged her gently, “I love you,” was all I could say. She wept and said, “I love you too.”

Now I could try to forget the down right dangerous things my beloved sister had done but that would have meant not seeing the real pain she had left behind in my other family members. It would have meant not learning anything from all the misery, including her illness. But I could choose to focus on the memories of good times. I could pull out photos of us swimming or playing or hugging. That is what I chose. I will remember what went wrong and hope to avoid and heal that. AND I can remember my beloved sister as she was when we were best friends.

If you are able, and I know that family members don’t always allow you to contact them, consider healing a relationship this coming week. You will be able to celebrate a true personal liberation.

May we all be blessed with many imperfect, but loving family members and friends.

EVENTS
Welcome Shabbat Outdoors (Los Altos)
Taqueria Sinai Shabbat! (Oakland)
Summer Shabbat Potlucks (Palo Alto)
Community Picnic with B’nai Shalom (Walnut Creek)
Grand Opening! At the Palo Alto JCC! (Palo Alto)
PTBE Book Club (San Mateo)
Prospective Members Open House (San Rafael)

Welcome Shabbat Outdoors
Summer worship outdoors is a tradition at Beth Am, giving congregants an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of our campus. Everyone is welcome, feel free to bring friends and enjoy a picnic dinner before or after the service.

Date: July 8
Time: 6:15
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org

Taqueria Sinai Shabbat!
Join us for this Sinai summertime favorite: a casual Shabbat dinner catered by Taqueria El Paisa followed by Erev Shabbat services in the Albers Chapel. BYO Bottles of beer or wine.

You must register and pay for dinner by July 11. You can do that here.

Date: Friday, July 15
Time: Dinner 6:00pm followed by Shabbat Services at 7:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland, in the Sacred Garden
www.oaklandsinai.org

Summer Shabbat Potlucks
Join Kol Emeth for a potluck this summer. Want to meet new people? These potluck dinners are a perfect place. They begin with an outdoor evening service and are followed by the meal. They are held in members’ backyards. So call Elaine Sigal, executive director of Kol Emeth at 650.269.3058 so she can tell you where you’ll be going and talk to you about what to bring.

Elaine says: This is exciting. The dinners are so haimish and warm, and friendly. Kids are for sure welcome.

They begin with an outdoor evening service and are followed by the meal.
On three Fridays in July, join us for outdoor Shabbat Evening Services at 6:00pm, followed by a festive potluck dinner.

Dates: July 15 and 29
Time: 6pm
Place: Call Elaine for the address.
Hosted by Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto
More info: Elaine Sigal, 650.269.3058, execdir@kolemeth.org

Community Picnic with B’nai Shalom
Want to check out a synagogue this summer before the High Holidays? Why not go to B’nai Shalom’s fabulous annual Community Picnic with games, swimming, hot dogs and more! All are welcome!

Sunday, July 17
Time: 12:00pm
Place: Cowell Park in Concord
Call Lisa at the synagogue office at 925-934-9446 x102 if you have any questions. She is incredibly kind and helpful.

Grand Opening! At the Palo Alto JCC!
The Palo Alto JCC is proud to announce the Grand Opening of four new destinations on our campus!

* The Oasis Play Space–a unique play experience for kids ages 1-10–with gentle hills, tunnels, slides, a climbing structure and benches on which to hang out
* Nourish, a Newish Jewish Cafe offering a savory and healthy menu
* Family Center–a cozy hangout for parents with little ones
* Outdoor Training Area–an al fresco workout space for our members (open to the community at the Grand Opening)

The free celebration, which is open to the community, will include:

* Music and entertainment
* Samples from our tasty cafe menu
* Goodies and giveaways
* Fitness Center tours and demos
* Demos at our Outdoor Training Area
* Coupons for future cafe treats and drink
* Face painting, bounce house and carnival games

Date: Sunday, July 17
Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
650-223-8700
http://www.paloaltojcc.org

PTBE Book Club
Milton Steinberg’s As A Driven Leaf will be this summer’s reading. Also known as one of Rabbi Dennis’ favorite books, this masterpiece of modern fiction tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah’s struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. Steinberg’s classic novel also transcends its historical setting with its depiction of a timeless, perennial feature of the Jewish experience: the inevitable conflict between the call of tradition and the glamour of the Modern world.
Please join Rabbi Lisa Kingston and Lisa Meltzer Penn for an exciting conversation based on the book.

Date: Thursday, August 18
Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org
Details here.

Community Shabbat Service and Dinner
You’re invited to Beth Am’s Shabbat service under the trees, followed by a special community Shabbat potluck dinner. We’ll have a chance to enjoy the delights of Shabbat together while savoring a beautiful summer evening. Please sign up here to bring a dish to share (enough for 10 people) according to your last name:
A-M main dish
N-Z salad or side dish
Beth Am will provide a delicious ice cream dessert!

Date: Friday, July 15
Time: Service at 6:15pm Potluck Dinner to Follow
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Service in the Outdoor Chapel; Dinner on the Patio
www.betham.org

Prospective Members Open House
Considering joining a synagogue in Marin? Want to learn more about Rodef Sholom?
Here’s the perfect opportunity! You will get to meet the clergy and other members of the Rodef Sholom community. RSVP to Molly at molly@rodefsholom.org.

Date: Friday, August 26
Time: 5:45 pm reception in Rabbi Stacy Friedman’s study; 6:15 pm Shabbat services
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org

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