Thursday, June 16, 2005

Why I love where I live....

There are many reasons why I love where I live. Not just the friendly people that you meet in either of our two Shuls. Our community is friendly and warm and emphasizes common sense over blind faith. Just to share two of these small reasons, here are two anecdotes from the recent holiday of shavuot.

- Shavuot marks the beginning of the summer afternoon 'Perek/Oneg' season. Both shuls have special summer afternoon programs - one calls theirs Perek on the Lawn and the other simply refers to theirs as an Oneg shabbat. Generally speaking, these happen work out every other week, and the shuls attempt to coordinate to some extent so that they don't conflict. Essentially, the program is hosted by a family in their back yard with snacks and salads and a speaker - usually someone from the shul gives a lecture on a topic of Jewish Interest.

These are great events, because it brings the community together as well as gives parents and kids an opportunity to socialize with their neighbors, and it also gives us all an excuse to get outdoors in the summer. It really builds a sense of community.

As for the other story - as we walked to the Perek on the lawn we were joined by our Rabbi and Rebbitzin - who also happen to be our neighbors. In talking to the Rebbitzin, weall commented how different our shuls (hers and the other one) are from the ones we grew up in. The Rebbitzin, My wife and I all recalled our Rabbis growing up to be on a pedestal and not to be talked to, where our children have a much different rapport with the Rabbi. My son knows to go up on the bima and say good shabbos to the Rabbi, and kids are welcome on the bimah for Kiddush time as well (although I will be the first to admit it has gotten just a little out of hand).

I think it is important for kids to feel that the Rabbi is approachable. This makes it easier for them to discuss their religious issues with him if they don't feel comfortable discussing them with us. It also gives them (dare I say it) a warm and fuzzy about going to shul, and hopefully will keep them coming back.

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