Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.
We have just finished celebrating the High Holy Days. How gratifying it was to look out over the congregation and see familiar faces — those who attend regularly, those from out of town who come home for the holidays and those who are in town, but whom we don’t see often.
Now, this is not a column about the need to come to the Temple. In fact, our synagogue is not unlike other synagogues and other congregations around the country. Regular attendance is not what occurs. Yet, we value our synagogue community and what Judaism teaches us about living.
What is it we value? Rabbi Arthur Green has written a book, Judaism’s 10 Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers. (And thanks to Susan Kray for putting me on to this wonderful book.)
Rabbi Green says the 10 ideas are:
- Simchah — Joy
- B’Tzelem Elohim — Created in God’s Image
- Halakhah — Walking the Path
- Shabbat — Getting Off the Treadmill
- Teshuvah — Returning
- Tikkun Olam — Repairing the World
- Torah — The People and the Book
- Talmud Torah — Teach Them to your Children
- L’Chaim — To Life
- Echad — Hear, O Israel
Each of the 10 chapters is full of wonderful ideas for living a Jewish life in the way that is meaningful for individuals and communities, such as our Temple community. Much of what Rabbi Green espouses can only be accomplished within community, our community. In order to build a meaningful Jewish community, we need people to tell us what would be meaningful for you in your being as a Jew. So, think about these 10 Best Ideas and tell us what you want and need.
Elsewhere in the November Hadashot, mailed to United Hebrew Congregation Terre Haute members, you will find several activities that provide examples of these 10 Best Ideas. For example, Patty Lewis has committed to seeing that stones are placed on all the graves in the old part of Highland Lawn Cemetery. To Life includes the circle of life and death. In reality, Judaism is much more than just the High Holy Days and Shabbat, but Judaism is our life.
Until next month,