In the last few weeks, in the wake of the release of the Pew study on American Judaism, there has been much talk of the changes taking place with the Jewish community at large and in Philadelphia in particular. Here at GJC, we are no strangers to change. In fact, I firmly believe that it is our openness to change – fostered by Rabbi Charry and by Rabbis Hahn and Gordon after him – that has allowed us to remain a vital and dynamic community that continues to attract new members and new energy. In the midst of change, it is important to hold on to the core values that make us who we are. Again and again, we have identified values like diversity, respect for others, learning, and engagement with the world as core to the GJC community. How we act out those values has certainly changed since Rabbi Charry’s time in ways that might have surprised him but that he would understand. And we may change yet more in the future. But as long as we hold tightly to our values, change need not be destabilizing. Instead it can open up new possibilities for growth in ourselves, new avenues for learning, and new ways to enact Jewish tradition in our time. May we continue to honor Rabbi harry’s vision,
and may we continue to be who we are even as we open ourselves to change.