Dear Members of our Or Chadash Community,
This week marks my 20th year in the rabbinate. Since I began my career as a young(er!) rabbi at Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, not only has the Jewish world changed, the rabbinate has, as well, along with it. That photo you see of me to the right — in a suit and tie! – was my daily dress. I would never leave the house without a pen and upon arriving at the office or back home, I would discover who had sent me (snail) mail or had left a phone message for me. Answering complex or esoteric questions about Judaism sometimes required a visit to the local Jewish library or a phone call to a knowledgeable colleague. Communicating with the community meant writing a Bulletin article perhaps two months before it would arrive at your doorstep or mailbox. There would be snow on the ground when I would need to write about the spring flowers of the Passover season.
How much has changed! And yet, there are many aspects of my rabbinate that are a constant. One of them is the role that community plays in creating a congregation. As Brian Williams noted in his commencement address last week at Elon University: “We call our online world a community, but that’s just to make us feel better,” Williams said. “It’s not — this is. People to your right and left with hopes and dreams and fears.”
We often see our new Jewish world as an online community. And there are great benefits to that — this e-Newsletter is a wonderful example. But the real community is found only when we are in the presence of one another.
In response to our recent Survey on Summer Services, we created the schedule you see above. It has more activities and earlier service times. In Pirkei Avot 3:3 it states: “If two people sit and share words of Torah, the Divine Presence rests between them.” As we begin our summer schedule and series of OC Summer Fun Activities, I hope you will make time to join us — to join YOUR community — and share words of Torah, of ideas learned, of sorrows unburdened, and of joys shared.