Kol Nidre appeal speech
Yom Kippur is the holiest of Jewish time the time when you can almost touch the Divine Presence so intense is the atmosphere of the day and it begins at night with Kol Nidre the prayer who’s haunting music has the power like no other to unlock the gates of the Jewish heart and yet did you ever look at the actual words themselves never was there a more unusual prayer.
In fact Kol Nidrei isn’t a prayer at all it’s a formula for undoing vows releasing us from obligations we didn’t really mean to undertake it’s a legal document one that wouldn’t be out of place in a lawyer’s office inspiring.
it isn’t never was there a greater disconnect a deeper dissonance between the music and the words the words of Prozac the music sublime so how did it happen we can’t know for sure the origins of Carla Dre are lost in the midst mists of time but the most plausible suggestion about Kol Nidrei or the words that preceded giving permission for us to pray with a barrier named transgressors.
Go back to the Middle Ages to the times of forced conversion there were times under Christian and sometimes even under Muslim rule when Jews were faced with the choice convert or die.
Abandon your faith accept ours or we’ll be forced to kill you to save your soul and some Jews did convert they were known in Hebrew as the unknow sim the people who acted under coercive pressure non-Jews called them conversos or the insulting term Moreno’s meaning swine.
It happened in Spain and Portugal in the 15th century but it happened in Visigoths Spain as early as the 7th century yet many of them remained Jews in secret they kept what they could without risking their lives and once here on the holiest of nights that come to the sinner asked to be admitted and they would pray a prayer asking God told them innocent of vows they’d made under the threat of death.
It was a way of saying please God understand that we didn’t want to abandon you we just wanted to live . You who know the heart know this. The Jews we are Jews we hold ourselves to be and Jews we will remain what an extraordinary story that is.
Some years ago at a civic service I was approached by a very aristocratic British politician. He said I’m so glad you’re here my wife wants to meet you.
she’s Jewish you know. Well he introduced his wife to me and she told me her story.
Her family had been Christian for more than years there were conversos from Spain yet in all that time they never forgot that they were Jews and who knows whether one day our children or grandchildren may not find their way back to the synagogue and know more deeply than the rest of us the meaning of Kol Nidre.
Which is why what’s happening today in the Jewish world is so sad today there are no pressures forcing us to give up our faith to the contrary we are freer than Jews have ever been yet throughout the Diaspora one young Jew in – is deciding not to marry another Jew, create a Jewish home have Jewish children and continue the Jewish story.
What an irony Jews survived poverty but they’re failing to survive affluence they survived oppression but they’re failing to survive freedom when they had almost nothing to thank God for they thanked him but now when we have almost everything to thank God for we forget to thank you this year let’s so resolved to live that our children or grandchildren.
The next generation of Jews will want to stay Jewish live a Jewish lives and continue the Jewish story. How do we do it by living it ourselves with pride with joy with a sense of privilege that we are part of the most remarkable story of any people who have ever lived the people who taught the world about the one God who created us in love.
Who forgives us cares for us lifts us when we stumble gives us hope when they when we stand on the edge of despair who believes in us more than we believe in ourselves the God our ancestors never forgot even when they were forced to pretend to be someone else think of that as you listen this year to the music and the words of Kol Nidre and may God bless you in the coming year shall not over
Yom Kippur quotes and sayings Primarily, I am honored to have this chance to talk to you all on behalf of this Greenburg Hebrew Center, particularly at this special moment.
Kol Nidre appeal speech
Lori and I were members of GHC for almost eighteen decades. We have raised two sons who have a strong Jewish identity. This was accomplished with the assistance of GHC — its own rabbi, cantors, lay-leaders, educators, and particularly all of you: the GHC family.
For this, Lori and I’m eternally thankful.
I want to start off tonight by talking about GHC’s long heritage of Tikkun Olam, Fixing the World.
About six decades back, throughout the HHD’s, Rabbi Kenter established the Tikkun Olam goal.
In summary, it was introduced as a literal goal of concentric circlesin the center, since the bull’s eye, has been fixing oneself. Subsequently moving out on the successive rings was fixing the household, then the tribe, then the bigger community, finally fixing the whole world.
GHC’s Social Action/Tikkun Olam committee (aka SATO) conducted with the initiative, largely focusing on opportunities that would affect the larger community and the entire world — –grander, but perhaps simpler than focusing close to home.
We continued to guide our attention largely outside ourselves by directing our energies toward atomic awareness. In so doing, SATO spawned the currently independent Green group, whose attempts are aimed at’fixing our planet.’
GHC’s Israel Team was in part born from SATO too, improving our connectedness to Jews across the world and Israel particularly.
Only One year ago, GHC’s SATO group began a new initiative–one which flipped the attention of fixing the planet more inward–into our GHC household:
GHC’s Caring Community, at Hebrew Kehillat Hesed, was designed with the intention to concentrate our Tikkun Olam attempts on members of their GHC membership. Our initial focus was directed towards bereavement, illness, and births: consoling people needing at a time of loss; supplying aid with friendly visits, telephone calls or meals at a time of sickness; while rejoicing together and assisting new parents.
Something about this fresh Caring Community initiative hit a nerve one of the GHC membership. We soon found that folks flocked to volunteer to assist members of the GHC family.
We now have a volunteer corps of over 60 GHC associates within this first year , with fresh volunteers coming in each month!
I am able to talk at length about this remarkable community-building initiative–most of you being one of our precious volunteers–but I will not.
I only wanted to highlight what was clearly shown: our GHC membership includes a desire for giving of these.
I’d love to provide a few of my ideas on the custom of committing within Judaism, our culture and our own history.
In Judaism, giving to people in need isn’t seen as a generous and magnanimous action, instead it’s merely an act of justice and righteousness, the operation of a sacred responsibility, providing those needing that which they deserve. This manner, our very own Jewish community is bolstered since these actions are being done on behalf people via our collective kehillah.
To achieve this mandate, each lamb had to be counted, for without one , there’s absolutely no tenth. ##
So tonight as I’m presenting our annual Kol Nidre appeal, it isn’t only that your contribution is depended, but each individual person has a opportunity to be counted. Poignantly, in our heritage, even the bad”count” and therefore are anticipated to contribute to people more unfortunate than those.
All of us count.
I’d love to tell an intriguing story about”giving.”
Rabbi Zalman of Liadi went outside to accumulate funds to assist free of charge Jewish captives.
He moved into a village renowned for its miser, a rich but stingy man who’d provide one rusty copper coin into some beggar or rabbi asking tzedakah. Everybody who obtained this stingy contribution only threw it back to his face.
Rabbi Zalman moved to the village and wished to stop by this miser, also asked two additional rabbi’s in the village to join him. Reluctantly both rabbis agreed. Rabbi Zalman requested they say no matter what occurs there.
The three of them went into the miser’s house and asked donations to assist the Jewish captives. The miser gave his contribution –just one rusty aluminum coin.
Upon departing the miser’s home, among Rabbi Zalman’s companions hissed”Why did not you throw his useless donation back in his face?!” Unexpectedly the miser opened his door and called to them,”Please return — I want to talk with you personally.” Once again in the miser asked,”Just how much cash do you require for the launch of those unfortunate souls?”
“5000 rubles,” replied Rabbi Zalman. “Alright, I will give 1000 rubles to assist these individuals.” Another two rabbi’s were amazed, afraid to look at the miser for fear he may change his mind.
As they left, one of both rabbi’s whispered,”This was a wonder!” And Rabbi Zalman indicated them to remain still. Suddenly the door of the home flung open:”Rabbi’s please return, I want to talk with youpersonally,” that the miser called out. They moved back into his house for a next time. The miser said to them”that I wish to provide the whole 5000 rubles to assist these Jewish spirits, please count it to ensure I did not make a mistake” !! Both different rabbi’s were entirely baffled. As they left his house they requested Rabbi Zalman,”How did you make this infamous miser to provide 5000 rubles?”
“That guy isn’t a miser,” explained Rabbi Zalman. “But how can he need to donate, if he in his whole life experienced the joys of giving?
What’s the concept of the Rusty Coin narrative?
It teaches us that we must show everybody that they rely, and that their contributions and volunteerism really matter.
I want to offer you another reflection on providing and how it relates to GHC.
Giving is often frightening — much more reason to demonstrate our thanks to people who volunteer their time and money.
Within our meticulous lifestyles between home, children, college, occupations, and professions, there’s often little time to make one’s self, no less for anybody else. The list of our duties and to-do lists are much too long. Our”plates are complete.” Our finances tend to be tight. But once we add yet another thing to our complete plates or make yet another contribution of our resources and time, instead of our plates feeling overfilled, often it feels as though our cup runneth over with self pride and blessings. “Giving” is related to a feeling of getting”done good” –together with the related warm fuzzy feeling of personal achievement. Frequently we get a lot more than we provide.
After we give ourselves by devoting our time or monetary aid, it becomes addictive.
My expectation for GHC is we are a real sacred community in which its members feel personal satisfaction for”doing great,” acting mitzvot from the process of fixing the world. A team where its participants feel disappointment when somebody else volunteers to provide a place shiva soup & challah before they get an opportunity to grab the chance, or any time volunteers attempt to take part in midnight jog before it’s all booked up.
If GHC members feel that the delight of giving when they attend a shiva or provide assistance at a time of sorrow, create a sick trip or telephone, congratulate a new parent or some other member of our GHC household to a simcha.
As soon as we feel delight in getting an usher, studying torah or haftarah, resulting in a ceremony, getting a gabbai, repairing siddurim or perhaps helping to buy new ones, changing the torah covers to your HHD’s, or even acting in the choir.
You get the idea: Giving yourself and your tools at all ways.
It is sort of similar to the Jewish equivalent of those”Dear Santa” letters which flood the article offices here in Christmas time.
The letter should have been especially well composed or touched on a nerve, since the postal employees independently got together and increased 4,300 shekels, they delivered to the older guy. This thank-you letter contained an intriguing post-script. The old man informed God the next time He was planning to send him cash, God should not use the post office, since he simply obtained 4,300 shekels, along with the dishonest postal employees stole another 700 shekels!
Whenever it’s the conclusion of the narrative that makes us laugh, the purposeful portion of the story for me personally is that these Israeli female workers raised a substantial amount for a person whom they did not even understand. If they are able to increase that kind of cash for an entire stranger, I want to think that tonight we are going to have the ability to perform better to our GHC household, our shul, we understand so well.
A community that appreciates and values exactly what every one of us contributes to our GHC household, and in so doing, boosting the joy of giving…
A congregation that gives ourselves and our financing, demonstrating that people deeply understand our very own Jewish customs…
That we really form a lively and generous community where each of us chooses to stand-up to be depended.
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