For many years, there has been a significant advertising blitz to get people to join gyms around the first of the year. This effort is to capitalize on people making resolutions to be more fit and to get in better shape. Traditionally, gyms are packed in the first several weeks of January and into the middle of February, and then there is a considerable drop-off. This happens every year as people have the best intentions to accomplish their resolutions, and then, as the year goes on, it becomes less important as other options become available.
So what does this have to do with this week’s message? Well, now that the fall Jewish holidays have concluded and the first few weeks of 5783 have passed, now is the time I am inviting you to “sign up and join” our local Jewish community. By increasing your participation and attending Jewish activities locally, you will feel a deeper connection to our community and may experience and learn something you never knew… thus benefiting you in the process. Plus, this “gym” membership doesn’t require you to towel off a machine before the next person uses it. So ACT NOW and sign up today!
In all seriousness, this is something I hope everyone in our community will consider. It is the perfect time to take advantage of all that the Jewish world has available. Recent surveys have shown that more and more people are choosing to feel a part of the community and deepening their connection to Judaism through everything from watching Jewish shows to enjoying Jewish food, not just by attending Shabbat services or participating in a holiday celebration. By consciously choosing to “do Jewish,” we connect ourselves not only to our culture and history but also to our people. Therefore, in the year ahead, I encourage you to incorporate more Jewish activities into your life, including getting together more with other Jews in our community. In my mind, the fact that two or more Jews are doing something together, whatever it is, makes it a Jewish activity. To me, it does not matter what you choose to do, but rather that you are choosing to do it.
Looking for a few additional suggestions:
Watch a Jewish Movie or TV show – The Red Sea Diving Resort, American Pickle, Denial, Resistance, The Survivor, Shtisel. Unorthodox, The Spy, Fauda, Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Eat Jewish Food – Find a favorite family recipe you haven’t made in a while, invite friends over for a special Shabbat dinner, make yourself a pot of matzah ball soup
Attend an Adult Education class
Or consider reading a Jewish book. And you are in luck. The Jewish Federation’s 24th Annual Jewish Book Festival begins this Sunday and runs through December 10. This year’s festival features 13 authors who have written on various topics, essentially a little something for everyone. Plus, we even have a One Book, One Community event scheduled to encourage our entire community to read the same book and feel connected to one another.
And unlike going to the gym, I promise you that by choosing to “do Jewish” in the year ahead, you most likely won’t be sore following a “workout.”