Where Passion and Ideas Come Together

Rabbi Lydia Medwin writing on :

Towards an Engaged Jewish Future

And yet, as Jewish professionals, we struggle every day to help facilitate this sense of community. We try desperately to imbue in our congregants a feeling that we need their presence to be fulfilled, and that they need us in many ways too. We try to convey the message that they belong to the Temple, and that the Temple, their Jewish community, and indeed the entire Jewish people, belongs to them too. They are, in fact, the Jewish people – not an idealized, Fiddle-on-the-Roof type of Judaism that (may have) existed long ago; not the small group of Ultra Orthodox Jews that so many of our congregants consider the “real deal religious Jews;” and not us professional Jews that many have handed over their Jewish identities to. Some clergy and educators risk sinking into resignation and despair when considering this uphill battle, and if we continue to think about community in the same old way, they will have reason to be sad. Jewish community can no longer be about professionals planning programs for congregants. It can no longer be about the professionals knowing what is good for our congregants. It is not about a show and it is not about perfection. Jewish community IS about getting into deep conversation with each other, one cup of coffee at a time. Jewish community is about collaboration and making decisions based on broad-based consensus. It is about creating a place where people can come to take off their masks, to share what matters in their lives, to not always be right but instead to just be.