Elul affords us the opportunity to think about the coming year. In addition to the thrill of piecing together the complex system of carpools, babysitters and mad dashes that will enable our five busy schedules, I look forward to this time of year as an opportunity to address the disconnect between who I am and who I want to be. Or at the very least, between what I do and what I wish I were doing. Why is there a disconnect? What keeps us from doing the things we wish we were doing but, for one reason or another, are not?

For any physical or chemical reaction to occur, there is a certain amount of energy required to make it happen. This is called activation energy and is often thought of as the extra hump or barrier necessary to overcome to get to the desired end state. So where do we get this extra energy? Sometimes we find it within ourselves; sometimes it takes a catalyst, something or someone that helps lower the activation energy.

This year, the Green Team will challenge you to make a personal commitment to renewable energy: to divest from fossil fuels and switch to a renewable energy provider for your home. Maybe you’ve already done this. Maybe this doesn’t interest you. Or maybe this is something you’ve wanted to do but either didn’t know how to implement or never got around to doing. We’ll make it easier for you by providing information, contacts and instructions. In case some friendly competition is your catalyst, we’re going up against Congregation Keneseth Israel (KI) in Elkins Park to see which congregation can garner the most support.

I’ve found that the BAI community is an extraordinary catalyst. It is easier to volunteer time reading books with school children because of our existing partnership with Zion Baptist Church and their Box Lunch and a Book program. It is easier to get to know newly settled refugee families or lend a helping hand to a friend through the coordinated efforts of our Love Thy Neighbor committee. This year, the Green Team will make it easier for you to switch to renewable energy. Whatever it is that you wish to be doing, I hope that this year you’re able to make it happen; I’m fairly certain that somewhere within the BAI community is that extra energy to overcome your barrier.

Shana Tova.