At this month’s Annual Affair, we will celebrate the 110th anniversary of Congregation Temple Emanu-El as well as my 35th year as Rabbi. That means that for 110 years, our congregation has been a place for worship, study and community. The number of people influenced by the congregation is, I am sure, many thousands. That means that five thousand seven hundred and twenty Shabatot have been observed at the Temple since 1907. To my knowledge, on every Shabbat, except for rare occasions such as snowstorms, hurricanes or other unusual circumstances, there has been a minyan at Temple Emanu-El. Our shul has helped keep Judaism alive by making sure the Shabbat has been observed every single week. We have been able to do so because many of our members from the founding of the congregation until today have been dedicated to it. We may care deeply about Judaism and the Jewish people. We are concerned about anti-Semitism. One of the best ways, however, to show that Jewishness is truly important to us is regular attendance at services. The way to make sure that Judaism is a living faith is to live it. All of us at Temple Emanu-El, I believe, have a responsibility to make sure that this tradition continues. There are many reasons to come to Shul. Some come for prayer and encounter with G-d. Some come for intellectual reasons, wanting to learn more about Judaism, the world and themselves. Others come to be part of a caring, supportive, living, face to face community. You never know what can happen if you go to Shul. I know of people who found jobs, got good medical advice and found solutions to personal issues from those they talk to in Shul. Some people even come for the food. We usually have great lunches. Most of all, attending services is an important contribution to the continuation of the Jewish faith and people. Winter is coming, and our snowbirds are already getting ready to fly away. For those who are staying put, I urge you to come, to make Shul attendance part of your routine. Even - or perhaps especially - if you are not a shul-goer, try it; you will be accomplishing more than you know.
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