Rabbi Preda: A Love Story

Here at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, Sunday School begins this coming weekend. I think that the beginning of a new Religious School year best captures – for me – that Rosh Hashanah sense of a fresh start, a new beginning. I feel especially excited, every fall, to begin teaching Confirmation Class once again.

There's an old Jewish custom: when you begin to write anything, especially a piece of correspondence, you put the English letters B”H or the Hebrew letters Bet-Hay at the top of the page. This stands for either Barukh Ha-Shem, “Blessed be God,” or “B’ezrat Hashem,” “With God’s help.” Beginning a piece of writing with these initials isn't part of my regular, Jewish practice, except once a year. When I write my first lesson plan of the year for Confirmation Class, I always put those Hebrew initials at the top of the page: “May this be a blessed year of learning and teaching.”

Here is the text of the Rosh Hashanah Eve sermon that I presented last year on the topic of the love between students and teachers. I hope it is meaningful to you.