Greetings to you in the name of peace!

As summer makes its inevitable transition to autumn, I wanted to extend my sincerest wishes for renewal in the coming year to my Jewish friends and cousins.  Yom Kippur is a solemn day for reflection and atonement for one’s transgressions.  All of us, as God’s children, share in the restorative power of confession and forgiveness.  (Although I am not sure my wife will grant all of you forgiveness for creating two school holidays in a row right after Labor Day!)

We are currently in the process of repairing the aspse, including the sacristy, at St. Ann’s and the discussions around financing this restoration gave me a wonderful chance to spend more time with your people.  What a lively and vibrant approach to business you bring!  It was a delight to “butt heads” with the best minds in finance.  I confess that I don’t bring a strong background in finance to the discussion (that pesky issue of usury), but I am happy to say that I walked away feeling enlightened.  Bravo!

I recently passed an interesting afternoon in my rooftop herb garden with a dear friend who is a Buddhist monk.  As we discussed the Buddha’s concept of the endless cycle of pain and rebirth, I saw parallels in the rich tradition of our Jewish friends.  Much in the way that, at the end of one life, Buddhists are cleansed and prepared for rebirth in the burning fires of cremation, Yom Kippur allows one to purify one’s soul in the hot oven of atonement.  It is my fervent desire that all of you leave that oven renewed.

From God’s Frozen People to God’s Chosen People, I extend my warmest wishes to all of you!

Your brother in God,

Philip

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