26 SheminiShemini, the name of this week’s Torah portion, means eighth. Eight is the number for new beginnings, for a new start. The Torah portion is the day Aaron and his sons begin the work they were ordained to do. The 8th day is the day after Shabbat, after the seven days of the week, including Shabbat, the day of rest and contemplation. The 8th day of Hanukkah is the day the new oil arrives, marking the dawn of the Temple being revitalized, the day of beginning again, of going that next step.

I am excited to begin the congregational listening campaign on the day after Shemini, the eighth day, this Sunday, with our first Group Community Conversations Session. Those who indicated they wanted to talk with someone in a group or individually will be contacted in the next couple of weeks to schedule the session. All Temple Israel and Temple Israel Sisterhood members will be receiving the online survey in your inbox this coming week as well. Everyone will be responding to the same questions. Your responses and the conversations which transpire will be compiled and the data analyzed to help give us a picture of what our members value, what is important to them and what they would like to see in the congregation now and in the future.

Please take the time to respond to the survey questions and help us in this new beginning of coming together as a community of people. You matter your voice, your thoughts, your values, and your aspirations. The musical cycle contains seven notes, popularly sung to doe-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti, with the eighth note being doe. The eighth note is the same as the first, except it is sung one octave higher. The 8th day is that new chapter, that new level of beginning.

Please join us at Temple Israel on this 8th day to chart the direction of our congregation and community.