Friday, August 24, 2018

Rabbi Nichols' Sabbatical - "Time to Refresh and Renew..."

Dear chevrei (friends),

I am writing this letter just prior to the start of the month of Elul, the month of spiritual preparation before Rosh Hashanah. While our halls are filled with the sounds of children playing at Camp Pinebrook and Kamp Kehillah, you can also hear the melodies and themes of the High Holidays drifting out of rehearsals and planning meetings. Soon, we will gather together as a community for a month of holidays and festivals, beginning with Erev Rosh Hashanah on September 9th and concluding with Simchat Torah on October 1st.

Following the holidays, beginning October 5th, I will be taking a two-month sabbatical. I will return to work right after Thanksgiving. I am grateful to the Temple Israel leadership for providing me with an opportunity to rejuvenate and spend time delving into some of my passions. Now in my 12th year at Temple Israel, it is so nice to have this time to refresh and renew myself so I can better serve the congregation when I return. I am also grateful to my colleagues, to the Board of Trustees, and to the TIFTY Board for continuing the full schedule of our activities, programs and services for our community while I am away.

True to my nature as an educator, I am starting my sabbatical by going back to school! I will be attending a two-week woodworking school in Maine. As some of you are aware, I relax and recharge by creating. I have always been up for a DIY project, but with my sabbatical, I am hoping to add some refinement to my homegrown woodworking skills!

From Maine, I will head to my family’s home in Massachusetts. For the remainder of my time away I will be balancing my time between volunteering and researching my family tree. As a volunteer, I will be putting my new woodworking skills to the test with Habitat for Humanity’s Greater Boston chapter. My ancestry research will focus on the branches of my family that helped found the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I discovered these ancestors through online research, and am eager to continue my research at local historical societies. (And in case anyone is wondering if Jews founded Massachusetts…these ancestors were Puritans through and through!)

When I return at the end of November, I hope to be able to share with you at least one piece of furniture and many stories. But before I leave, we will have plenty of time together, as we usher in 5779, dine under the shelter of the sukkah and dance with the Torah.

Shanah Tovah,
Rabbi Nichols