It’s a lovely thing to come together under one big tent, but I also value being part of a community that gets to define itself, a community that represents my way of being Jewish.
Do it out of inspiration. Or do it out of obligation. Do it because human beings freely choosing mundane obligation is literally the inspiration for our entire Jewish civilization. You and I choosing to be responsible for one another, day in and day out, is what makes us a community. It’s what makes this place sacred to me. It is why I give to Kol HaNeshamah. And it is an incredible gift that I am grateful to receive every time we come together.
I don’t have to be included, because this community assumes a Judaism that already belongs to me. Here, I was never cast as “other” by the double-edged sword of inclusion.
What I do find remarkable is how many non-Jewish partners have chosen to step up and take on actual leadership roles, contributing in such meaningful ways to the essential fabric and ongoing sustenance of our congregation.
At one point, our home was filled with flowers you brought, cards you sent and gentle visits from so many of you. And all of that was before the chemotherapy kicked in. And I have to tell you – chemotherapy kicks hard. And speaking of chemotherapy, I never went by myself. Many of you attended both chemotherapy and held my hand during that ridiculously long neulasta shot the day after.