DAY 1506: No Synagogue Required

August 15, 2016
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 1506: No Synagogue Required

Dear Hevreh,

Yesterday (Sunday) I had the pleasure of spending the end of Tisha B’av learning Torah with a number of 20s and 30s who live in Highland Park. Many topics were included in this marathon of learning including…

  • how Tisha B’av implores us to feel the pain of historical collective trauma,

  • how we struggle with understanding why bad things happen to seemingly good people,

  • and how our love affair with Jerusalem revolves around lamenting its destruction and hoping for its rebirth (among other topics).

The conversation was stimulating, variegated, and incisive because we weren’t shy to share our own perspectives – our Unique Torah – and we weren’t afraid to listen and be moved by the teachings of others. I left invigorated and inspired by the depth, breadth, and curiosity of young Jewish minds who are deeply engaged in learning about and experiencing Jewish life together.

And perhaps the most inspirational (and important) element of this whole gathering was that…it was not organized or affiliated with a synagogue or any Jewish institution. Instead, it was created organically by young Jews who live in close proximity to one another and wanted to come together to observe Jewish life together. That natural desire to come together as Jews, to learn about Judaism, and to experience Jewish life together, that is at the heart of all Jewish communities. Every synagogue, like Beth Mordecai, or JCC was started by people who simply wanted to come together to “do Jewish” together. But those institutions, weren’t required; they were an outgrowth of the inherent desire of the people involved who just wanted a place to come together.

No outreach program, no marketing strategy, no amenity can replace that simple desire to come together, whether it’s to learn about Tisha B’av or to go to a baseball game. So as we strive to be a vibrant Jewish community in Perth Amboy, let us heed the inspirational example those young Jews in Highland Park — all a community needs is the desire to come together and experience Jewish life together. In other words, our vibrancy lies within us.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

Category : home Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
Tag :