Well, it’s amazing what happens when you put something out into the universe that you want to get back. No sooner did I write this post, did I receive a phone call from Rabbi Leon Olenick, my friend, and much respected colleague. I’ll write more about him in a moment, but for now, the important point is that he called to let me know – he didn’t have an engagement for the upcoming holidays, and wanted to work on something interesting. Do tell!
Leon saved my month of May, and probably much much more, last month. Because I had been sharing a Torah with another very good friend and colleague that suddenly became permanently unavailable, I was at a loss for what I would do suddenly without one. One day, as I stopped into “The Pastrami Club” deli in Tamarac, I looked down and saw a flyer for my friend Andy Sussman’s upcoming local Passover seder, and I immediately knew it was a sign to call him, to see if he could help. One phone call and one email later, Leon offered me the use of his Torah, until I could find just the right one for my services. I went to his home and sat and chatted with his wife, and realized that I had an incredible connection with this family.
So, Leon assured me his support in any way possible, and on I went, with his Torah, to complete the B’Nai Mitzvah ceremonies I had scheduled for this month. So as he called me that day to chat about getting together, he wanted me to know that he was very interested in doing something special for this HH 2008, and SO DID I!
We’re totally on the same page. Neither of us has any interest in a sterile, clergy-only-led service. There are plenty of those out there. We want to engage a group of congregants in an experience they will always remember, and maybe even spark someone’s new found inspiration to know more about our heritage and faith. As a Jewish clergy member dedicated to Jewish continuity, it’s imperative we find ways to inspire and connect our fellow Jews with modern worship rituals and traditions, because for many, the old ways are simply not working. (I thought I had found that in the Reform movement, but alas, it’s still a lot of politics and over-organized efforts, with little kavanah and community bonding, truth be told) – but that’s a whole different blog, isn’t it?
So, we’re having dinner on May 25th, to sit and discuss the type of service that people will leave incredibly inspired over. I invite anyone and everyone to contact me, to tell me what you would want to see, hear, or experience in a High Holiday service, that would make you WANT to be connected, and make you want to come back for stronger connections to our Jewish faith. It is my intention to create that exact type of service for South Florida this year, whether I have 30 people, or 300, it’s going to be beautiful. I can’t wait! Please feel free to comment, and hopefully to join me for the holidays.