by Rabbi Alan Cook
As an aficionado of classic television, when I think of change, I think of two episodes from well-known sitcoms of the 1970s. The first is an episode of All in the Family, titled “Edith’s Problem,” originally aired in 1972. Edith experiences menopause, and her husband, Archie, becomes impatient with her mood swings and the other side-effects she is manifesting. He gives her an ultimatum: “If you're gonna have the change of life, you gotta do it right now. I'm gonna give you just 30 seconds. Now c'mon and change.”
The second episode that comes to my mind is also from 1972. It’s called “Dough Re Mi,” from The Brady Bunch. The six Brady siblings have formed a singing group to help Greg make some money, but middle brother Peter begins to experience vocal changes due to puberty. Reconfiguring their plans to accommodate him, they come up with the song, “Time to Change.”
Both of these stories present physiological changes, over which we have little control. Edith and Peter’s changes are not initially welcomed, yet they and their families learn to adapt and accept them.
For us, the changes we encounter as we enter this new year 5784 may be adaptations we make of our own choosing, or they may come as the result of circumstances beyond our control. We have a choice in how we respond to these changes and incorporate them into our character. However change comes, may God give us the insight and resilience to respond with grace.
2 Elul 5783/August 19, 2023
The Joys and Challenges of Change: A Musical Reflection
by Cantor Jenna Sagan
Change can be both exhilarating and frightening. Whether it's a new job, a new relationship, or a new chapter in life, change can bring a mix of emotions. For the Jewish community, change is a central theme in our history. From the Exodus from Egypt to the establishment of the State of Israel, we have faced significant changes throughout the ages. As I think of the many changes that may come this year, I turn to our musical tradition for hope and inspiration.
One of the most famous Jewish songs about change is Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu. This song longs for a time when peace will come to the world. It reminds us that change can bring hope and a better future. Of course, change can also be challenging. Change is a natural part of life; we must accept that things will not always stay the same, and that can be difficult.
The concept of Teshuvah, repentance, emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and change. We look within ourselves, acknowledge our mistakes, and make amends. This process can be uncomfortable, but it allows us to grow and become better versions of ourselves.
I have curated a playlist of songs that reflect the joys and challenges of change. Click here to listen to the Elul 5783 playlist:
This Elul, may we find hope and strength in the face of change, and may we continue to work towards a brighter future for ourselves and our communities.