Congregation Sha'aray Israel

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A Conservative Jewish Congregation serving the spiritual needs of the Middle Georgia Jewish community since 1904

From the Rabbi

February 2016
Shevat - Adar 5776

Happy February!

As I write these words...In shul: we've just chanted the Song of the Sea on Shabbat, and the visit from from Jethro, as well as the Sinai revelation are coming right up.

Our annual fundraiser is also around the corner. I'd like to share an idea that ties these things together. You could say that the Egypt experience made our ancestors who they were. The drumbeat of biblical reminders - remember that you were strangers in a foreign land; you must love the stranger - is still etched into what it means to be a Jew in the 21st century. And the way we identify keeps evolving - we are profoundly shaped by the culture in which we live.

Beyond the ancient laws is the development of sacred space, a way to somehow ritualize Sinai and Torah. How do we pray? Not only a question of what is the liturgy, but also - how do we like to set up our synagogue space - this conversation also reflects an evolution within the American Jewish experience.

Our fundraiser helps us pay the bills - that much is obvious. But In a few weeks we'll read about Moses and the grand campaign to build the Mishkan - our ancestors' first ritualized holy space. There is an abundance of detail about 'building stuff' but there's something deeper that must serve as the foundation - then as well as now. It is about our hearts being engaged, our coming together and feeling holiness and love as we celebrate who we are and ask ourselves what our mission is. We give from our hearts and we feel the blessings of community.

Rabbi Aaron

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