The Beauty of Nature

Rabbi’s Message – April 20, 2021

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

This is my favorite time of year, even on a day when the forecast is 60 degrees with a chance of snow!  Earth Week likely is scheduled for now because the weather is perfect for outside activities related to the environment.  I may be biased, but there is no place more beautiful to enjoy the outdoors than by our Temple on Riverside Drive.  I was reminded by many of you at Friday's Taste of the Jewish Cultural Festival of how nice it is just to be near our building, even when the Temple is closed.  We all miss spending time here. We feel spiritually connected to this space along the Great Miami River.  Our synagogue sits on one of the most magnificent green spaces in the area from which to soak in the natural surroundings.  It is easy to see God’s creative handiwork here on days when the grass is green and the flowers are blooming.  During services in the summer, congregants love to look through the chapel windows and gaze upon the scenery.  Our worship is framed by beautiful trees, natural land, and the Five Rivers Fountain of Light.  

Dayton is well known nationally for its role in aviation and engineering patents, but it is also distinguished by its extensive MetroPark trails.  How lucky we are to be at the heart of these paths and so close to Riverscape!  Did you know that behind our building we have Adirondack chairs, a picnic table, and benches for you to enjoy?  Or that there is a path at the north end of our parking lot that leads directly into the Great Miami River Trail? If you are looking for a change in scenery, please feel free to take advantage of our outdoor space and our location.  It is a peaceful place to rest and enjoy a lazy Shabbat afternoon.  Enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Great Miami River Basin and then, perhaps, take a stroll with a pet, or a bike ride along the river.   However you choose to spend your time this spring, please remember that you are always invited to enjoy our sacred space, especially now.  And if you find yourself smitten by the beauty of the outdoors, consider giving thanks to our Creator with this poetic Prayer for the Preservation of the Environment.
Sovereign of the universe, who makes peace and creates all, sanctify all that Your hand has shaped, with blessings of life and tranquility. Life giver of the worlds, preserve the earth and all therein. Spread Your wings over its multifaceted riches which in Your abundant kindness You have bestowed upon us, so that for all the generations to come, our children and our children’s children may find wonder and healing in the fruits of Your labor. 
You have conferred upon us humankind, guardianship over the earth and all its beings, as it is written: “And God said, we will make people in our image after our likeness and entrust them with dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heaven and over the animals and over all the earth and over every creeping thing on the earth.”  Instill in us the humility and insight to appreciate our planet’s fragile beauty. May we rejoice in our unique and extraordinary environment, enhance it and bequeath it secure, to future generations. As we continue to unravel the infinite mysteries of the world, grant us the wisdom to utilize its myriad treasures sustainably and preserve them. Unify us all humanity with a shared fate and communal responsibility, so that we may act together for the sake of a better future for all. 
May it be Your will, the Lord our God, that You cast Your rainbow above us, as it is written: “And the bow will be in the cloud, and I will look at it and remember the eternal covenant between God and every living soul of all flesh that is on the earth.”  Lord of wonders, renew the world’s natural order as of old and protect us and the environment so that we may have the merit to thank and praise You and may all the earth be filled with Your glory for eternity, Amen and Amen. 
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .