Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT

Predicting the Past

From time to time in recent months I have been asked, “What will the world (or the synagogue) be like in the next century?” Assuming the question was about the distant future (i.e. more than a month down the road), I have to confess that I have no idea.

I am reminded of the story of an Israeli who was out hiking and came upon a Bedouin scout lying flat on the ground with his ear pressed against the sandy earth. Without looking up the Bedouin said: “Jeep… 6-cylinder jeep… man driving jeep… long beard… wearing green shirt… woman in passenger seat… dressed in jeans….” The Israeli was duly impressed. “You can tell all of that just by pressing your ear to the ground?” he asked.

“No,” replied the Bedouin, “The Jeep ran me over twenty minutes ago.”

My understanding of how the world works is hardly sufficient to explain the past, let alone predict the future. And back in Rabbinical School I skipped the elective course “Practical Prophecy 101,” in favor of “Investing for your Retirement.” That makes me as qualified as the pundits to predict the future, so here goes.

Rabbi Tilsen’s Predications for the Year 2100

Assuming we don’t destroy all life or civilization through pollution, war or the successful attempt of physicists to recreate the Big Bang in their particle accelerators, we might expect the following.

  • A new battery is developed that derives energy from the body’s own heat or chemistry. It is wildly popular, as people no longer need to plug their heads in at night to recharge their cell phone implants.
  • Replacement body parts, grown from one’s own DNA, can be ordered from
  • The Social Security retirement age is raised to 135.
  • A cancer cure is available at CVS without prescription.
  • The first class letter rate is $49.99.
  • Non-Conservative conversions to Judaism are not recognized by the government of Mars.
  • All financial transactions are registered by fingerprint.
  • Cars get over 200 mpg.
  • New York City is expelled from the United States of North America and Manhattan Island is towed to a location near Greenland.
  • The Tel Aviv-Beirut Commuter Train is overcrowded.
  • BEKI operates franchises in 2,000 locations in 70 countries. Phase 27 is completed of the BEKI 2000 project.
  • New Haven real estate prices are astronomical as Sun Birds flock here in the summer to escape the blistering heat of the South.
  • The Elm City is renamed “New Haven at Yale.” Washington State is renamed “Washington at Microsoft.”
  • Construction nears completion on I-95.
  • The Catholic Church returns to tradition and continues its reconciliation with Jewry, as Catholics now eat gefilte fish on Fridays.
  • Ham, grown as genetically altered watermelons, is kosher-certified by the OU.
  • You don’t have to be Jewish to be Jewish, but it helps.

Those are my predications. One thing I know for sure is that the future can be whatever we make it. As we sing in the hymn “Lekha Dodi” each Shabbat Evening, “sof ma`asei be-mahshava tehila – what becomes reality begins as thought.” May your future, beginning today, be a happy one.

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