Welcome to our second edition of “Archways in Torah” for the High Holidays of 5781/2020.
We began this “Archways” publication concept for Shavuot 2020 when most everyone was staying home during the intensity of Covid-19. It was a platform for alumni and students to share words of Torah with one another and to have interesting reading material for the holiday.
We’re not out of the woods yet with Covid, but Corona or not, it’s nice to continue a good thing. It is our hope to be able to continue to publish this semi-annually with the help of alumni and student contributors of articles, teachings and insights.
Why the title archways? First of all, everyone who went to UAlbany is very familiar with its ubiquitous myriad of archways. Archways have lots of symbolism: They are supportive yet open, they are entrances and exits at the same time, they are guideposts that draw and raise our eyes upward and frame our perspective. UAlbany buildings have many archways on every side, for all its length and breadth, from every angle, inside and out. All of this can be a metaphor for Torah.
Some doors of synagogues will be closed this year, others will have limitations and restrictions. An archway reminds us that spiritual entrances always remain open. We can access and experience the High Holidays from within our own homes, wherever we may be, no matter who we are.
Legend has it that the archways at UAlbany were originally designed for a warmer climate where its wind tunnel effect would be more welcome. On a deeper level, the wind can be likened to spirit and we are always looking for way to foster and facilitate more spirit!
Many thanks to all who’ve contributed to this booklet. We took liberty to do some edits, to add or remove bits and pieces for the sake of clarity and elucidation, but maintained the message and expressions of each writer.
Among the traditional greetings for the new year is “Shana Tova UMetukah” – may you and yours be blessed with a good and sweet year. A very popular English version is Happy, Healthy & Sweet New Year, and this especially resonates this year in 2020. May 5781 usher that in!
Mendel and Raizy