Congregation Sha’are Shalom and friends! Welcome to B’virkat Shalom!, my new blog. I’ve been thinking for a while since arriving to the congregation ten months ago, that it’s time to start a new blog. This blog would serve as a chance to communicate with and beyond our membership, much the way the printed newsletter used to do. What makes this format even better is that it allows for an interactive discussion chain. It’s my hope that we can engage in some meaningful discussion on the issues that affect congregational life, as they appear in my posts. This blog is named B’virkat Shalom! for a few reasons. The first is that it is my usual closing for correspondence. The second is that the word “B’virkat” means “In the blessing of”. Framing a sacred conversation about our congregation in words of blessing simply seems mat’im, appropriate. Finally the use of the word Shalom not only fits the phrase, it also brings in the final word from the congregation’s name. Usually in rabbinic tradition, the author’s name isused as part of the title, reflecting with playful reverence some sort of biblical reference. It again seems mat’im that it be the congregation’s name reflected in the title. The posts will hopefully start a conversation online that could be extended in to the larger congregational conversation. Please remember the public nature of this forum; posts that are inappropriate in content and/or violate Jewish values will be deleted. And now, for our initial post!