On the sixth day of Hanukkah, a miracle took place at HBT.
Monday morning, Dan Gelbtuch, son of long-time members Madelyn Bronitsky and Sam Gelbtuch, staffed a retreat that HBT hosted to shape a new revolution in Jewish life. Drawing from the vision of Rabbi David Jaffe, author of Changing the World from the Inside Out, the hand-picked group of Jewish leaders discussed ways to bring an integration of social justice, spirituality, and Judaism to the Jewish world.
For Dan, this was a homecoming. As you can read in the Boston Globe story from 1992, Dan represented the hope for the future of our synagogue when he became the first bar mitzvah at HBT in 30 years. At that time HBT’s sustainability was uncertain.
Dan grew up at HBT and went on to work for justice in Boston since college. He and his wife Leah had their aufruf (blessing before their marriage) here, and celebrated the naming of their daughter Hannah with us.
On Monday, twenty-four years after his bar mitzvah, Dan returned to HBT to point the way, once again, to the future of the Jewish community. I was blessed and proud to be in the room for that deep and prophetic conversation on Monday.
When you read the Globe article, I hope you will feel personal pride as you see how the vision of young HBT members in the 1990s has come to fruition in 2017. One shining example: on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a new generation of HBT young families, I led a public Hanukkah-menorah lighting in Adams Park in Roslindale Square. Parents, children, babies filled the square with light and joy in celebrating the Jewish presence in our neighborhood.
Throughout my 22 years at HBT, I have considered this synagogue a place where miracles happen. Every day, we rededicate ourselves to a thriving Jewish presence in West Roxbury. We celebrate the renewed vision of those who came before us, and the inspiring commitment of those who are with us today.
Happy end of Hanukkah! May we all find light in our homes and in our hearts.
Rabbi Barbara Penzner