As I sat in services for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur, I was reminded of how incredible the High Holy Days are. It is not because, as our Machzor says, “The days are awesome and full of dread.” It is more about the fact that there is no other time of the Jewish year that people feel more Jewish. There is a connection that pulls people to services like nothing else.
Before services began, I watched as people got excited to see one another and catch up. For many, most likely, it was from when they saw each other last year at services. The reconnection people were having as they quickly caught up made me smile. It was almost a sense of pride and a reminder of how meaningful relationships and connections are for people. What I witnessed and was a part of was the Jewish version of homecoming. And I loved every minute of it.
Community is something that always seems to be on my mind… after all, our Jewish Federation’s mission is to build community by strengthening and enhancing Jewish life. And there is no better time to feel the power of community than during these last couple of weeks. Even if you did not attend services this year or found yourself at a different synagogue, praying together with others or sharing an experience makes the holidays that much more meaningful. There is a power and a feeling that one has when being surrounded by others, and it is not easily replicated. However, with two more holidays coming up, you have the opportunity to feel it again during Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
Now, I have a favor to ask, and I hope you will say yes. With the newness of 5784 still relatively fresh, I am hoping you will make a commitment to our community. In fact, I will make a deal with you…. it can be on your own terms and however you choose to do it. Not sure how to do this? I will give you a few ideas, but then you are on your own:
1. Attend an event, performance, service, or class at a community synagogue or from our Jewish Federation.
2. Donate food to a food pantry or volunteer at a local nonprofit. If you are unsure where to find one, let us know, and we can help you locate one nearby.
3. Support a cause that is meaningful to you by donating to an organization.
4. Invite friends over for a Shabbat dinner. Bonus points if they are not Jewish.
The possibilities are endless and know that whatever you choose to do, our community will be stronger because of it. While you may not be able to “see” or “feel” its impact, I promise you it will have a positive impact. And I should know…. after all, I am in the community-building business.