High Holiday Letter From President Bret Goldstein                                                            
Mishkan Torah is a friendly, down-to-earth, community-oriented congregation. (The best one-word description may be haimishe). We offer something for everyone, young, old, single, married, and both Jewish and interfaith families.  Our strong traditions of education and member participation provide a wide variety of opportunities for involvement.  

For the past six years, we have been installing a relatively new tradition at Mishkan Torah: the Rosh Hashanah Seder, where we eat our way through seven symbolic steps, each giving us some kavanah for our thoughts as we make our way towards a new year. The final event of the seder is consuming a head (traditionally, of a ram or a fish -- we usually stick with lettuce here in Greenbelt) and reciting the following:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב.


“May it be your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, that we be a head and not a tail.”


Every organization has its leaders, and Mishkan Torah is blessed to have so many talented people that do so much for our congregation -- we are indeed a synagogue of heads and not of tails. And yet, for those of us who are not necessarily in positions of leadership, we still have the opportunity to be the “head”, in any of our interactions. In this coming new year, I would encourage every Mishkan Torah member to consider what their talent is -- what is that special thing that you do, where you are the expert, the head? Once that is figured out, I ask that you bring that talent and share it with our community. For many of us, our favorite quality of Mishkan Torah is its willingness to accept so many diverse expressions of what it means to be Jewish. Find the one that fits your connection, and share it with the rest of us here. Become the head, the leader, the pioneer that helps to keep the traditional evolution of our people fresh.

It is my sincere hope that 5778 provides health, prosperity, and growth for all of our members. In the following pages you will find all the information you need for our High Holiday programming, where hopefully you will begin to find the inspiration for what your contribution to Mishkan Torah will be this year. We can always use more heads.


Best wishes for the happiest of new years -- l’shanah tovah.


Bret Goldstein, Darelynn Fung, Aeryn, Sam, and Elta