Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Three Pillars of Adas Emuno

from the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

From the desk of …                    
 Rabbi Barry Schwartz


 The Talmud teaches that our Jewish lives rest on three pillars: Torah (learning), Avodah (prayer), Gemilut hHasadim (kindness).

The synagogue has evolved to fulfill these crucial functions. Indeed, the three Hebrew names for synagogue (which is a loan word from the Greek) are Beit Midrash (House of Study), Beit Tefilah (House of Prayer), and Beit K’nesset (House of Assembly).

Here at Congregation Adas Emuno, we strive to fulfill these three responsibilities. Education, worship, and social action are at the heart of what we do. As we return from summer and gather for the holidays, I invite you to consider how you can “upgrade” your commitment in each of these endeavors.

Education: Take the Torah study plunge! We gather every Shabbat morning (10:00-11:15am) for lively text study and discussion. This year (starting Sept. 8) we are beginning a whole new study of the Mishneh Torah—the magnum opus of Moses Maimonides, arguably the greatest sage in Jewish history. Every session stands on its own; you are always welcome.

Worship:  Nurture your spiritual life! Beautiful music and thought provoking words fill our sanctuary every Shabbat evening (7:30 PM). Bring children of all school ages to our monthly family service (generally the third Shabbat of the month). The family service is not just for the grade being honored! We read from the Torah at this service so that everyone can join in that experience. On Sunday mornings our joyful Religious School service will now begin at 9:00 AM (at the start of the day) to give parents an opportunity to sing and learn with their children.

Social Action: Live generously! A social action committee has been revived this year; ideas are flowing freely. Keep an eye out for details on how you can lend a hand to make our congregation, our community and our world a little bit better place. Our Jewish bumper sticker is not “random” acts of kindness, but “regular” acts of goodness. 

To say that our lives are busy is an understatement. But isn’t it true that the busiest people seem to find the most time? Not everyone may see the “value added” dimension of enhancing their demanding lives with learning, prayer and activism. But Judaism has long insisted that it is imperative that we nurture our intellect, our spirit, and our communal engagement. These are the pillars of soulful living. Rosh Hashanah is a time of promise and possibilities. From my house to yours: Wishing you a sweet and soulful new year!

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