It’s been nearly a year since I found my way to Columbia, MO and CBS.
And it’s been a year.
I don’t know how many times I’ve thanked God for Zoom.  It’s not newsworthy—Zoom’s been our lifeblood. But take a moment, if you haven’t already, to consider how this meeting platform provided the means to communicate in so many ways.  We prayed together, sang together, studied, played, had bar and bat mitzvahs, mourned, watched plays, passed budgets, gossiped—all that and more courtesy of Zoom.
And it wasn’t all terrible. This state of being enabled us to bring in speakers and singers to do programs from Brooklyn, Boston, Manhattan, New Jersey, St. Louis, Santa Fe, Greensboro (thrice!), California, Montreal, and other places that not coming to mind.  When was the last time in the history of this shul we had such a roundup?  (Answer: never!)
Now normalcy is on the rebound.  We’ve begun meeting again in our sanctuary for Shabbat, not to mention that the watercolor gang has returned in person to create art.
As I said, it’s been a year, and I’ve begun to meet you in person as we begin our second year together. More than once I’ve had the experience of meeting those of you who have been familiar Zoom presences in person, and, strangely, I don’t recognize you.  When the Zoom rectangle takes human form somehow, you’re not exactly the same.  I expect the reverse is also the case. The usual comment I get is, “Rabbi, you’re so much better looking in person.”
I have various observations and suggestions I’d like to make, but I’m going to deliver them over the course of the next few weeks. For now, let me say simply, I’ve enjoyed being the Zoomer Rav of Columbia, but am looking forward to being just the regular ole rabbi in the coming year.
Let me conclude with a program I’d like to conduct in the next year.
Twice in my career I’ve taught an adult bar/bat mitzvah class. It should actually be bat/bar mitzvah, as most students have been women. I’d like to teach such a class here.  Beginning after the High Holy Days, it would conclude in the spring with a group celebration.
Right now, I’m announcing my intentions. Give some thought to participating.  Alredy had a bar or bat but would like a course that serves as a broad Judaism class? Consider this as an adult Confirmation class.
If the idea has some merit in your sight, consider joining. Questions? Consider asking. If I get a small group interested in such a project, we’ll do it.  For those in such a class, it would be a good way frame the next year here at CBS.

Rabbi Phil M. Cohen Ph.D.