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 2015
Shevat 5775

Little Shul That Could

As I write these words, it's Thursday morning, the 29th of January - a bit earlier today we had our 7am weekly Thursday morning minyan. It has been too long since last we mustered a minyan. Not too many folks are signed up for an early morning service. Alas. So, Ma Nishtana: what made this Thursday morning different from other Thursday mornings?  This morning someone needed to mark a yahrzeit and say kaddish. A few of us worked the phones, and there you have it; people singing, the Torah being chanted, mourner's Kaddish... Yes, some readers will shrug and ask: why is this a big deal?

So here's the takeaway - will live in moments fraught with unease, insecurity, cynicism and fear. A dysfunctional congress, violence and terrorism, financial meltdowns, and on and on...We read and see and hear stories which discourage us and lead us to conclude that we make little or no difference in the world. We throw up our hands and walk ourselves off with indifference.

But sometimes we can experience profound gratitude with small, yet significant personal gestures. Some people think that attending a minyan must be based on some measure of religiosity, and that if you're not a regular davenner, there's no point in attending. I beg to differ. For a person in need of saying Kaddish, the presence of others is a real emotional boost. It's a powerful statement of people caring about you or your loved one. Our coming together will not defeat terrorists or inspire lawmakers to actwith statesmanship or halt the advance of deadly plagues. But it will remind us that each of us makes a difference in our own small way.

The little engine said I think I can, I think I can. The little minyan said I think I care, I think I care. And there you have it - a small moment of critical mass, of togetherness, of joy, of community.


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