This coming week, many of us will stand together. We will stand for prayers. We will stand in memory. We will form a community. For the past two years, congregating was fraught. After Covid, we no longer take it for granted that gathering is the way we start the New Year.
Crowds in synagogue used to be a Rabbi’s best dream. Judaism is a religion best experienced as a community. We learn from Torah that our connection with the Holy One is best achieved as a collective. In the Torah reading for this week, the people gather to reenter into a covenant with God. The reading starts with the words “you standing here, all of you.” When we are together, we are most able to access the Divine.
During these upcoming High Holidays, if you can gather in a community, I urge you to do so. Zoom services and live streaming is certainly available to us all. They can be entertaining and even engaging. Yet, you may have forgotten the power of a community experience. Listen to the voices joined in prayer. Greet your neighbors and wish them a good year. Even criticizing the Rabbi’s sermon is better with friends.
As we emerge from the Covid era, I wish you more time in community, more time to gather with friends, and opportunities to share your best self with others. And I hope to see you soon, hopefully joining us at a prayer service.
Rabbi Evan J. Krame