In the Jewish world there have been studies, reports, and books, all describing the ideal synagogue. In all of these studies, on page after page, we see a pattern that people need spiritual connection, growth, and transformation, and that only synagogues can provide it.
We have created that spiritual connection at Congregation Emeth and share it with all spiritual seekers. We welcome the believers and non-believers, religious and non-religious, singles, families, empty nesters, intermarried families, GLBTQ and their families. Our doors are open to all, and we are always striving to improve and expand. The communal commitment to Jewish life, to the pursuit of holiness, transforms a synagogue from being just another building into being a place where G-d dwells, a sacred space.
As Chanukah approaches we remember at how important the Holy Temples in Jerusalem were to the Israelites, and how the memory of these sacred institutions stirs our hearts. Chanukah means “rededication”, and reminds us of the time that the Assyrians defiled our Temple – and we remember the brave Maccabees who fought and won the first war for religious freedom in world history. The first thing the Maccabees did after entering the defiled Temple was to sanctify it by lighting the Menorah with ritual oil. We focus on the miracle of Chanukah – that the ritual oil lasted eight days, giving the priests time to prepare enough oil to keep the Menorah burning without interruption, as commanded in Torah. The Jewish people came together in that Holy Temple and restored it as a sacred space.
We are blessed to experience the sacred every time we enter our beloved Congregational home. On December 11, when we light our Chanukiah (Chanukah Menorah) in our sanctuary, we will remember our heroic ancestors and recognize that we are the ones who now are keeping the blessed flame of Judaism burning. And that is the real miracle of Chanukah.
Rabbi Debbie Israel