Taking Community on the Road

The WORD – 6/7/12.  For some strange reason, the building of new worship space seems to be on my mind these days!  In last week’s Torah portion, each of the tribes brought their gifts to the new Sanctuary.  The rabbis noticed that the Priests and the Levites did not bring any gifts.  How could it be that these two groups who would be so involved in the ritual life of the Israelites did not bring gifts.

The answer comes in the beginning of this week’s Torah portion with the lighting of the Menorah.  The gift from the Priests and the Levites was the holy flame of the Menorah which represented God’s presence.  We preserve this gift today through the presence of the Eternal Flame in all Jewish houses of worship.

I was thinking about this as we prepare for our unique summer here at the Summit JCC.  As you probably already know From June 23rd through Labor Day weekend, we will be holding our Shabbat morning service atTempleSinai.  We are extremely grateful to the leaders ofTempleSinai for their generous hospitality, but it does present us with a challenge.

How do we preserve our sense of community and our identity when we are holding services under the roof of another congregation?

The answer, I believe, comes from the Eternal Flame and the lighting of the Menorah.  There is something intangible that makes us a community regardless of where we congregate physically.  Our relationships with God, our tradition and each other are what make us a community more than mortar and bricks.

Now don’t get me wrong – it will be wonderful to have a beautiful new building in which to nurture those relationships.  However, we’ll be just fine in our temporary home until our new sanctuary is ready.  And then, we’ll get to light our new Eternal Flame.






About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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