On Saturday night, Nadya and I and several Temple Sinai members attended a tribute concert to Leonard Cohen performed by his long-time back-up singer, Perla Battala, organized by Art Town, and hosted by the First United Methodist Church in downtown Reno. One of the pieces that moved me most that night was Battala’s performance of “Anthem” and specifically the following lyric:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen

It reminded me of Rabbi Tarfon’s teaching: “You are not obliged to finish the task; neither are you free to neglect it.” -Pirkei Avot 2:21

In a world with so much that needs fixing, it can feel overwhelming. But what you do, how you contribute need not be perfect or complete. Each of us simply needs to do something, to contribute in some real and tangible way to causes that make our world more just.

I want to thank everyone who is engaged in the work of welcoming and helping the Zarour Family, set to arrive December 20 in Reno. Jeff Gingold, Jane Townley and Russ Kotlicky among many others have led an inspiring effort of preparing their home and setting them up for success, before they have even arrived in Reno. Another event to attend to make our community stronger is next Tuesday, December 13 as we enter a post-election dialogue with three other congregations in town to explore how we can work together to bring more light into our communities, city and state. Please attend and bring a dairy dish to share! (Flyer below: “Envisioning Our Shared Future”)

Yes, there are cracks in everything; yes our world is broken. But that’s also how the light gets in. As we approach Chanukah in a few weeks, let’s keep exploring ways to shine our light and strengthen hope in a darkening world.

Rabbi Bair