Divrei Tikvah

From Rabbi Johanna Hershenson

On the verge of an empty nest for the first time, I am experiencing the pending arrival of this Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) season as warm yet powerful winds of infinite possibility…

Gratitude. I turned fifty this past summer and I feel an excitement similar to that of my youngest anticipating her freshman year in college.

Gratitude. Mark and I, after more than thirty years and just short of ten venues for life and work, feel equally landed in a home community. That we both want to stay where we live and work and play right now is a new and profoundly grounding sensation.

Gratitude. Knowing we want to live permanently in Central Oregon and knowing that the people who make up Temple Beth Tikvah have become as important to us as our own families, Mark and I pinch ourselves. How lucky are we, as a rabbinic couple? Very.

Gratitude. I took a risk a year and a half ago, deciding to enter a Masters of Counseling course of study and practice just as I finished my breast cancer treatments. While it has been intellectually and professionally exhilarating, my studies have required sacrifice. My family has endured my frenetic pace. The people who make up our congregation have embraced my journey with substantial patience. Eight more months until graduation. As much as I love Temple Beth Tikvah, it is a gift for me to cultivate financial security that is independent of the congregation without compromising my ability to serve its mission. I believe the two part-time professional commitments will blend easily once the requirements of full time graduate school are fulfilled.

Weird observation. Mark and I are noticing that as the loose strings in our lives are coming together, we are simultaneously experiencing thoughts about legacy and grandchildren. Neither of our daughters are in committed relationships and yet we feel a drive to build a home designed for having so much fun, our future grandchildren will want to come often.

Big news, if you haven’t heard already. Mark and I have sold our home and entered escrow on a rustic, off-grid historic ranch that lies twenty-five minutes east of Bend. Our intention is to create a recreational ranch, a place for creative and nature-based play. We look forward to welcoming Temple Beth Tikvah to our new home for all sorts of activities, celebrations, and retreat.

Warm yet powerful winds of infinite possibility…

What is your metaphor from the natural world for this High Holy Day season?

Shanah tovah umetukah – May the New Year bring goodness and sweetness into our lives.

~~ Rabbi Hershenson’s office hours are by appointment. If you would like to set up an appointment, please contact her by email at: johannahershenson@gmail.com, or by phone at 541-213-9880.