Today is January 19, 2020 -
by Eadie Tsabari, Director of Congregational Learning
Family. It can mean so many things. This summer I had the opportunity to reflect and really think about what and who I would consider family. There are so many layers and although genetics is important, it certainly
isn’t everything. Often because of distance and time, we can become just as close with the people who are nearest to us.
Firstly, I was so fortunate to spend a month in Israel. My daughter and two stepsons have lived in Israel for almost 2 decades, along with their spouses and all 4 of my grandkids. I was so happy to spend so much real time with them and spoil them all as much as I could. Sometimes, it takes a while to reacquaint yourself even with your own family, understanding their concerns, the rhythm of their families, their obstacles. That’s my Real Family.
My family circle was widened when I visited with my husband’s huge family that included 4 generations of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We went on a family visit to a special museum – “Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center”, where we learned about great Rabbis including Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, a leading Baghdadi hakham (Sephardi rabbi), authority on halakha (Jewish law), and Master Kabbalist who were part of our family – who knew! I also visited my own cousins – but we just went to the beach! That’s my Extended Family.
I then met up with a wonderful group of Omaha people from St. Luke’s Methodist Church and Beth El Synagogue. Twenty-three complete strangers ranging from 27-79 in age who became one big happy family. We all had different religious practices, we were from different socioeconomic backgrounds, some single, some married, some well- traveled and some who had never been outside of the Midwest. We traveled for 10 days and I saw Israel in a totally different light. My favorite part was just spending time with people and taking the time to understand how they felt about so many different subjects. How very similar we were and yet so different about many basic ideas. That’s my New Family.
And now I am back, with only days to go until the synagogue is filled with you and your families once again. I will miss my days of summer, but I am looking forward to seeing all our kids back to BESTT and Hebrew High. How many of them are taller than me? Who lost their teeth? Who is going to a new school? It’s like coming home to my synagogue family. To the kids and families who I spend so much of my time and energy with. To the families where we celebrate together, both good and difficult times. Where we watch our kids become adults and mature into wonderful people. That’s my Beth El Family.
So many ways to look at the world and at all the blessings we are given. I hope you will all take the time and make the effort to become a big part of our synagogue family and share your kids with us as often as possible. Let’s make 5780 the greatest year yet.