There is a significant school of thought among rabbis and scholars that the ‘synagogue’, the word that encompasses the place where Jews worship, study and gather, has literally been vital to Jewish civilization for (at least) 2,000 years.
Even before the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 A.D., there is significant evidence that many Jewish communities created a special place to gather in order to communicate ideals, distribute charity, study, and commune with the Divine.
In theory any of this can be done anywhere. But the reality is that a designated place is necessary for this type of aspirational discourse to actually happen.
Thus, the synagogue (or Shul, or Temple) exists to help us live our ideals.
The theology behind the Judaism housed in the synagogue is that we have partnered with God to heal our sick world, to take it from where it is, to where it needs to be. Tikkun Olom.
This is the mission of every individual Jew, of every Jewish generation, and of the Jewish people in every land that we have lived.
We do this, quite simply, by intentional actions (mitzvot) designed to bring ‘light into the world’. Sometimes these mitzvot are big and seen by many, but most of the time, they are quiet, private, actions done when nobody is looking.
Judaism gives us the ‘charge’ and the direction, as well as the inspiration that our life can ‘mean something.’ By this, we imply that we can contribute to this Jewish mission of tikkun olom (healing the world) if we choose to make the effort.
But, as you know, synagogues do not just happen.
They have to be created, and progressed, and nurtured.
Healthy ones, like (thank God), Temple Emanu-El, are constantly evolving, for the vibrant synagogue is almost a living entity.
Not because of the synagogue walls, although they indicate the designated space for us to realize our aspirational, best selves; but rather because of the amazing people (our congregants) who think that Judasim, and what the synagogue can do to help change the world for the better, is really important.
The proverbial litmus test is for you to imagine what the world, and what your life, would look like if Judaism and Temple Emanu-El did not exist. Try it.
The Torah that emanates from this place, through our membership, is the front-line of the change that our tradition mandates we try to make through every Jewish life, in every Jewish age.
Judaism is not a luxury, it is vital to the world.
Temple Emanu-El is not an afterthought, it is a cornerstone.
Your active engagement, or even your passive support, allows real good to permeate.
This Friday night, during our Shabbat services, we will be installing the newest members to our Board of Trustees.
These are your fellow congregants who are entrusted with the health and mission of our sacred congregation. They do it because they care.
Edye Disner, Co-President
Evan Altman, Vice-President
Ellen Lindemann, Vice President
Mickey Rosner, Recording Secretary
Matt Bernstein, Trustee
Nora Floersheim, Trustee
David Jacobson, Trustee
Dana Neiger, Trustee
Hannah Patel, Trustee
Gerri Penn, Trustee
Harriet Zoller, Trustee
Won’t you join us this Shabbat, in person or online, as we pray together, and raise them up?