May 7 signfiies “Lag B’Omer” within the Jewish calendar.It is the mid way point between Pesach and Shavuot. The mid point in this season of “counting”, of spiritual growth. We observe on the Shabbat of May 1 and 2 one in which we read the portion “Acharei Mot-Kiddushin”; a portion that gives us a glimpse of some of the spiritual and ritual aspects of Yom Kippur. Indeed, there is the understanding that this portion is read about half way between the High Holidays that have passed and the ones that are coming. Half way. Mid-point.
For many who follow this site and our Facebook page, and the linked radio show Boomer Generation Radio, we find our own journey in mid point. An HUC Doctor of Ministry student of mine, Rabbi Whinston, has developed for his doctoral project a look at what we are calling a “transition generation”. I think that describes many of us. We see it in the Boomers headlong rush to create new types of Jewish expression. We see it in our friends who slowly seek to find answers to serious questions of meaning and purpose; questions that arise out of the reality of our own mortality, the fact that we have moved beyond the tipping point of mid life and so we begin to ask what is next and what does this life mean and what do I wish to “be”?
For many Boomers who become aware of these mid life transitions, we turn to Judaism to see what guidance can be gleaned from a faith tradition that has spanned centuries. For those who choose to seek answers, they find that Jewish texts and tradition can provide very powerful guidance on how to navigate the next stages of life; stages often present great possibilities of personal, spiritual and emotional growth–if we but choose to see it. Ahh, therein lies, as is often the case, the real challenge. How do we overcome the fear within our self to choose to reinvent, change and grow our own life? It is all too comfortable and secure for so many to remain in the comfort of the known. For a growing few, however, this mid-point of life opens to new possibilities and a freedom to change and see themselves in a new light.
Judaism, I believe, teaches us not to fear to change, adapt, innovate and grow. That message is clear, I believe, in the texts that we hold sacred, texts that take on powerful new meaning as we ourselves move forward in life, seeking meaning in our own transitions.
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.