Sunday, April 29, 2007

Counting the Omer Day 25 - 3 weeks, 4 days

Yesterday was Netzach she b'Netzach - a day of endurance in a week of endurance.

In this week of endurance I seem to be focusing my Jewish community--both my Beth Sholom community and the Jewish community at large. This exposes my deep tribal relationship to my Judaism. I believe that a connected Jewish community is representative of our tribal roots--it ties us to our ancestors and has given us the means for survival throughout the centuries.

In the book by Rodger Kamenetz, "The Jew in the Lotus," a group of Jewish religious leaders from different spheres of Judaism meet with the Dalai Lama. The subject of discussion was the survival of Judaism through such a long period in diaspora. The most important discovery for the Dalai Lama was that the survival of the Jewish people was tied to shared home rituals. There is no central person or persons who participate for others, the rituals are done by the family units.

A community is an extension of family, and the rituals we share bind us together. These rituals support us in both times of elation and times of sadness. Yesterday I participated in the celebration of a bar mitzvah; this morning I was at minyan, supporting those who are in the midst of grief over the loss of a loved one.

As long as we can come together in community, we will endure.

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