Monday, July 29, 2013

Jewish Experience? We all Make Our Own...

Recently, I came across an excellent piece in the Jewish Forward on how we are all ultimately responsible for creating our own Jewish experiences and community. 


The main point that Joanne Seiff makes is that what each of us do as individuals -- in our own Jewish communities -- is what ultimately determines the character of that community.

Truer words were never spoken.

As a rabbi, I am incredible fortunate to be serving a synagogue Congregation Beth Shalom - Atlanta, GA that really understands and lives that idea every day. We have learned as Seiff writes that: "Finding a Jewish community and home does not happen on occasional high holidays, or when you have emergency kaddish minyan needs."

We who serve the community have always known that real Jewish communal life is what occurs day in and day out, and from one Shabbat to the next.  It's how all of us -- not just rabbis or staff -- care for each other in times of distress, and how we celebrate with one another during our simchas.  It's how we make the community a priority in our own lives, and part of the regular rhythm of our existence.

Our shuls, and in fact our entire Jewish community, will only "feel like home" when we make the effort to fully engage and immerse ourselves in its structure and dealings.

As Seiff wrote: "Put long-term effort into it and maybe you’ll be amazed by the results."

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