DAY 535: ONE Jewish People

December 17, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 535: ONE Jewish People

Today we celebrate our unity.

Today we honor our diversity.

Today we glorify the beauty of Klal Yisrael (people of Israel)

Day 295: Klal Yisrael

Dear Hevreh,

I shared the words written above last Spring when four Jewish institutions in northern Middlesex County — Beth Mordecai, Neve Shalom, Temple Emanu-El, and the JCC — came together to work on a program to celebrate our love for the Jewish homeland of Israel. I return to these words because this Sunday from 9 am — 12 pm we have another opportunity to experience the glory of Klal Yisrael with an amazing Bible Family Fun Day program which we are co-sponsoring with the other three northern Jewish Middlesex institutions and Middlesex Federation and the Conservative Temple of Highland Park.

The program will be a lot of fun (and it stars Aaron Friedman, the comedian from my installation last year, as one of the members of the renown Bible Players group who will be performing) and I hope you will be able to make it. But more important than what the program is, is the fact that we are having a joint program at all. For generations, the concept of klal yisrael — the unity of the Jewish people — has been a nice idea, but one that was only good in theory. The reality is that our people — our small, Jewish people — divide ourselves into small groups, whether as synagogue communities, non-profit institutions, or religious and cultural denominations, that not only not get along with one another, but don’t see the point in working together. Whether we were one of the original Zionists who saw Yiddish (and those who spoke it) as backwards or a synagogue leader who doesn’t want to expose their members to another Jewish institution who might steal their members, our history as shown that we tend to not want to work together.

Yet, at the end of the day we’re not Beth Mordecai Jews, or Conservative Jews, or American Jews, or Israeli Jews…we’re just Jews. When we pray Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheynu Adonai Ehad — Hear O Israel the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One, we are speaking to “Israel” in the singular — as one people. Just like there is only one God, there is one Jewish people. And no matter the legitimate and practical reasons why it seems like it doesn’t make sense to work together with other Jewish institutions, this notion is meant to trump all: We are ONE Jewish people.

I hope you will join me in celebrating our unity as a people at this Sunday’s event.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

P.S. In addition to the other wonderful programming, I will be leading a session on “Dramatic Bible Origins” for young kids beginning at 11 am, so tell your kids and grandkids to come :).

Category : Middlesex Jewish News Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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