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Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/16/2023

01/16/2023 04:19:41 PM

Jan16

This past Friday evening, we celebrated our third Shabbat Shulchan — a very informal Erev Shabbat service followed by a Seudah, a shared festive Shabbat meal at our “Shabbat Table.” All three of our Shabbat Shulchan celebrations (held on the second Friday evening of the month) have welcomed new people into the Kol Ami community.

I am always proud and grateful for how our Kol Ami family is so welcoming to every new person who walks in the door. And each new person gives new energy to the community.

So with that said, I am going to do something I promised myself I would never do. I am going to exhort people who do not often attend a Kol Ami service or other Kol Ami activity to show up. This is with an understanding that such exhortations are rarely effective, and showing up after a long week, and facing a myriad of activities and obligations, is not alway easy.

Yet I find that no matter my mood or however tired I may be, I always feel better once I arrive and begin to spend time in our wonderful community. I also see the benefit of having more of our longtime (or longer-time) congregants present when new people show up. There is definitely a heightened positive energy in the room.

In the first year of my rabbinic studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York, I was reciting Mourner's Kaddish for my mother, who had died the day before Chanukah that year.  While in New York, I would attend morning services at B’nai Jeshurun, the well-known synagogue on the Upper West Side with many, many more congregants than we have. Yet they struggled to make a minyan on weekday mornings.

They instituted a program called “Jewry Duty.” Congregants were assigned two or three times a year to attend in order to ensure a minyan. Relax! I am not proposing that we institute such a program. Just know that you can and do make a difference simply by being there.

So if I may be so bold, I suggest that you pick a couple of times a month for a service, study or social-justice project to simply be present. You do matter, and by being who you are, you do much to strengthen our community and support our Kol Ami family.

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Shevat 5783