By Cantor Emma Lutz

“Do not say, ‘When I am free I will study,’ for perhaps you will not become free.” -Pirkei Avot 2:5

This past year alongside my clergy colleagues, I had the privilege of guiding ten adult members of our congregation through the process of becoming b’nai mitzvah. While we ask a great deal of our thirteen-year-olds during their own b’nai mitzvah process, it can be even more challenging to return (or come for the first time) to the bima after our teenage years. I am amazed at the commitment with which these ten adults tackled their learning, each one with great eagerness of spirit and deep inquiry of mind. Already devoted to career and family, these students carved out additional time each week to study Hebrew, liturgy, history, and Torah.

These days, we are all busier than ever in our overfilled and hyperconnected lives. It is perhaps more trying than ever to make time for study and prayer, and yet, it is precisely the joy, meaning, and deep connection that these Jewish rituals bring to our lives that provide a remedy to the anxiety and stress of our overstuffed schedules. As we begin this new calendar year, it is my hope and blessing that we will all seek ways to enrich our lives through learning, whether at a Shabbat morning Torah study, a weekday text class, a Melton course, one of our many clergy-led adult education opportunities, or curled up with a thought-provoking read.

May we find time for the study that will sustain us and gain inspiration from the words of our daily morning prayer: Blessed are You, God, ruler of the universe, who invites us to busy ourselves in the study of Torah.