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Yesterday, I was honored to participate in a panel discussion on World Peace at the Watbuddhavas Thai Buddhist Temple. They gathered an interfaith panel in honor of Queen Sirikit of Thailand’s 84th birthday. As the panelists were invited to the pulpit to speak, they bowed, full prostration Buddhist monk-style, to the head Buddhist monk who was seated in the front of the room. One by one, they bowed before the head monk. Suddenly, I felt like Mordechai in King Acheshverosh’s court, refusing to bow down to the King. When my turn to speak came, I went to the front of the room, put my hands together in a gesture of gratitude, nodded my head and closed my eyes. He nodded back. It was somewhat anti-climactic, but it was a good reminder of my belief in one God who is distinct from human beings.
Last spring, the congregation met in a special meeting to discuss the “interim plan” as recommended by Rabbi Teller and the Board of Directors. The plan, designed in Rabbi Teller’s words, is to “create a place of deep, genuine, and soulful engagement” through improved lifecyle connections and dynamic, participatory worship. The plan itself involves multiple facets, which are outlined in the original document presented to the board in the Fall of 2014 by Rabbi Teller (see Rabbi Teller’s Summary). The plan also includes changes in staffing for the synagogue (see Staffing for the Interim Plan), as decided by the Board of Trustees prior to implementation.
Congress is set to vote in mid-September on the Iran nuclear agreement. The outcome of this vote is important to the security of the Western World, the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. The Israel Advocacy Committee has unanimously agreed that the agreement does not achieve the purpose for which it was intended, to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. Further, it will provide substantial resources for Iran’s aggressive activities, many of them directed against Israel. The committee urges fellow congregants, no matter what their views, to be informed and be heard on this important matter.