It takes a village by Scott Burka

Usually when we hear this, we think of child rearing, but this phrase hit home with me this past week of October 14th. There was too much sadness.

First, the owner of the storefront where CEH began passed away. Then we lost the only male congregant to ever be awarded honorary membership in the Sisterhood for being such a mensch, and then the mother of a board member.

Yes, it’s all part of life and we will all face sadness at some point in our lives. But this article is not about sadness. It’s about all the positive I saw around that sadness.

I saw the Rabbi, exhausted from Yom Kippur, console a family and conduct a funeral the day after Yom Kippur.

I saw a large group of congregants come together to honor and remember our congregant even when the family did not feel connected to CEH. We remembered how he always had a smart-aleck or snarky response, we joked about his always talking during services, and I cried when I looked down at the tie I was wearing that day and recalled him always giving me a hard time if I even put a tie on.

I saw a Board member leave one funeral to make arrangements for another and still take time to acknowledge an email from me and send regrets for not making the board meeting. I saw several of her friends drive all the way to Newport News to stand in solidarity.

Etz Hayim is its own village and, as villagers, I am awed at how we always come together in both good times and bad.

L’chaim.