I was reading a Jewish magazine recently and was amused by the number of ads that contained the phrase “life changing”.
Send your children to Jewish camp. LIFECHANGING! Tour Poland and Israel with a renowned history professor. LIFECHANGING! Birthright Israel. LIFECHANGING! The reality of course is that life changing events can rarely be planned and in fact, can only be recognized years later with the benefit of hindsight.
When Lesley and I first moved to Rochester, we belonged to a synagogue that had Friday Night Children’s services at 7:30 pm. Every Friday night, after finally settling in at home after a hectic week of work and running young children around, we would debate whether we had the energy to bundle our children up and head off to services. Whenever we did go, we returned home happy that we went; the warmth of the shul, the singing, the story telling, and praying together with friends was transformational. We entered shul frazzled young parents and somehow emerged with a sense of peace and community. And yet the next Friday, the debate would begin anew. Should we go or shouldn’t we? Eventually, the weekly debate became just another obstacle and so after much discussion we decided that we would just go each week and stop discussing it. Twenty-five years later I understand that the decision we made back then to attend services every week was the defining, LIFECHANGING conversation of our adult lives. It has shaped how we raised our children, who our friends are, how we eat, and our entire outlook on life and the world we live in.
A few weeks ago over five hundred people attended our Centennial Purim festivities. Hundreds more will be attending our second night of Passover Seder. Each and every week Temple Beth El is filled with activities that can enrich your lives. Programs, however, are only part of the equation; it is our congregants and the caring community which develops from that which is our greatest asset. Temple Beth El can be LIFECHANGING, but it takes your commitment and participation to make that happen.