Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community
Greetings! This year at Kol Ami, our preparations for the High Holidays and the holidays themselves will be a poignant reminder of vulnerability and mortality, as well as the legacy a person can leave behind. This year, among other losses, we will keenly feel the loss of our beloved haver — friend, colleague, teacher, pillar of the congregation — Rabbi Richard Ruth, who passed away during Pesach. Our High Holiday services are dedicated to his memory, and to the causes which he cared about and fought for throughout his life — civil rights, equality for the LGBTQ+ community, mental health, and reconstructing Judaism.
It is not often that a congregation has in its midst a person of such great integrity, someone who bore his own suffering and illness with grace, and who brought holiness and wisdom to every encounter. We were blessed to have a tzaddik, a righteous individual, in our midst, and we apply to Rabbi Richard the verse from Psalms:
Or zarua la-tzaddik u’l-yishrei lev simchah / Light is sown for the righteous person, joy for the upright of heart.
This verse is traditionally chanted at the start of the Kol Nidre service, as a gentle nudge to get ourselves back on the right path. It’s a reminder that the moral, ethical, and interpersonal demands that Judaism places upon us not only illuminate our path — they can also become a deep source of joy and fulfillment. Rabbi Richard left us too soon, but we will continue to study and grow and rejoice in the light he radiated and the path he forged.
Join us for an uplifting, provocative, and memorable High Holidays.
Rabbi Gilah Langner