In the continued spirit of the Holidays, I hope that we all have a wonderful 5768…and on into the future. And, within the context of discussions following services I decided to attempt a program idea that was pretty successful in my former congregation in Grass Valley. It is based on two ideas…
One, that there are congregants that would like to hear from me (perhaps) about specific topics as part of my Friday night sermons…and are hesitant to ask, or the opportunity has never been presented to them before…and,
Two, there is a saying that I first heard in Israel during my first year as a rabbinic student way back in the day (as my sons would say), “the shy person does not learn.”
The context of number two was not that shy people are unable to learn, but rather that the person who is afraid to ask limits his/her ability to expand knowledge.
So, this is what I would like to do. As the children in the religious school are learning, I enjoy answering their questions…any questions. It gives them a chance to relate to me as their rabbi (that I might actually be human as well) and gives me a chance to get to know them. In the same arena, I would like to get to know the issues about which you would like to learn. This would also be concerned with both adult education and other programming, but for the purposes that I am addressing here my concern is with sermon ideas that are of interest to you…or, even, questions that you would somehow enjoy watching your rabbi struggle with while answering.
I would like to begin a regular, Shabbat evening sermon topic that is generated from your questions. We will call this “Ask the Rabbi Shabbat” and it will be the 4th Shabbat evening service of each month. All you need to do is follow these simple procedures:
- Think of a Jewish (or related) topic you would like me to cover as my sermon.
- Ask me (in writing) to address it. Now, this is a crucial step, because if you approach me at an oneg, or during religious school, or at a service, or pretty much anywhere…and orally give me the topic, I guarantee you that I will not remember it…at all. So,
- Either email, post a letter, write it on a separate sheet of paper or even phone it in so that I may write it down from a message or phone conversation.
- I will then pick one topic from the myriad requests and advertise the next month’s topic in the Kol Sholom.
I will address the question as my sermon for the evening, and hopefully engage the congregation in conversation as well.