Rabbi’s message December 2021

Rabbi’s Message

What happens if or, better yet, when I look at “community” as a verb, as an active choice

rather than a thing?

Like everyone around me, I can’t not notice the impact of the pandemic on my life and on

my community. And as a rabbi, I certainly think about its impact on Temple Shalom

yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The patterns of our life have changed hugely. We leave our homes far less often and with

heightened wariness. Our connections to others have also changed dramatically, as face-

to-face and hugs and trips and gatherings have been replaced by phone calls and Zoom

rooms. And as we tire of our devices and screens, even those go into decline.

This has, of course, seeped into Temple life as well. Back in the day, whether we did or

didn’t attend services, we knew there was always a warm and inviting door awaiting us. And

even when we had to close our doors, we popped up online two weeks later. Now, these

days, we are both live and online. But our personal responses have been muted by our

ongoing wariness and our inclination towards “maybe later.” Friends tell me about their

cancelled theatre subscriptions and gym memberships and I understand. But for Temples

and synagogues everywhere, this kind of thinking represents an existential threat.

And I hope that we don’t add our temples to the lists of things we cancel. Rather, I’d

encourage you to think of “community’ and especially our Temple community as an active

choice — to step into “something, anything” at the Temple and maybe add the word “new”

and find a creative way to make the Temple part of your life –perhaps a volunteer

commitment inside the Temple, or to represent our Temple in planning a Rady JCC holiday

event or attend an Adult Ed or a Tikkun Olam project or our Book Club.

We know, in our hearts, how great it feels when we show up, to see others and to be seen.

But it only happens when we actively “choose community.” We rather than me, these are

the central teachings of our Torah.

Rabbi Allan