Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon Highlights

"A Synagogue's Open Doors"
The vision of our synagogue is built on three foundations:
1) A place to enjoy our Jewish learning--both children and adults. A synagogue must be a place where people can connect to their Jewish tradition and its values. It is a place where one can grapple with God and wrestle with questions of faith. For me it is a place where I both connect to the tradition my grandfather loved and continue to struggle with theological questions. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is it that the grandfather who most cared about my chanting from the Torah on my bar mitzvah could not live to see that day?
2) A community makes us better individuals. Judaism does not believe that we are at our best when by ourselves. It might bring us contentment to hike in nature and be at one with God's creation, but it does not make us better. Only others can make us better. Belonging to community helps us to look outside of ourselves and our own concerns and look to what matters to others. We need others to rejoice at simchas. We need others to comfort us when we mourn.
3) A congregation serves as a bridge between the milestones of our lives. For me this lesson was learned at a young age. The same rabbi who buried my grandfather officiated at my bar mitzvah. The rabbi and the congregation to which my family belonged connected these seemingly detached events. People seem to think that you can hire a rabbi for this event or that. When you belong to a congregation the events of your lives are connected to each other. The congregation is that bridge.

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