Kavannah of Transformation

Small changes often have an exponential impact.

Last year, after services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah at BJ, our new shul, we were invited to Tashlikh, to cast our sins upon the water. We gathered among a few friends, some known but mostly new acquaintances, and were given stones to toss instead of pieces of bread.

There was singing … and then it got very quiet … and then a child threw a stone. Other stones then followed, randomly popping the silence in a performance that hit me somewhere between a love song and a poem. And then the quiet echoed again.

I thought about that pebble concert well into the Days of Awe, and I was surprised by how much it moved me. This was a slight twist on a ritual that I had long ago taken for granted—a simple, almost rote, annual task which, this time, awakened in me an unanticipated heshbon hahayim.  Here Rachel and I stood by the water in our new city, reflecting.

Along with the sound, I was struck by the image that the pebbles made along the surface of the water. The vision was deeply evocative of what we have found here at BJ—individual kind acts, rippling outward towards something larger.

In our first year here, we have been exposed to an amazing collection of people doing incredible things large and small to make this a better world. We’ve heard stories of their dedication to justice and we have been inspired to find ways to do good ourselves. We are constantly reminded that we have moved to a place where progressive social change isn’t just something one reads about. It is something we can, and now do, participate in.

This is a warm, stimulating congregation whose actions ripple far out into the community and the world. We’re blessed to be part of it.

Written By Seth Goodman Park

Seth Goodman Park and his wife Rachel Park recently celebrated their first year at BJ. Their daughter Abby, a denizen of the East Side, is also a BJ member. Their son Solomon, and their soon-to-be ...