As we came together for Rosh Hashanah, I thought of how much of life I have shared with the people of this congregation. I recall the births of people who have since become Bar/Bat Mitzvah and married. I recall the weddings, and now the children of couples I have known for so many years. And I recall the times of sadness and ordeal, when loved ones were sick, or those times when people who were dear to us passed away.
Years ago, a book was published entitled, Life Is With People. The book spoke of life in Eastern Europe, and how people’s lives were so much connected to one another. Life has changed so much since that time. We live great distances from each other. Our children live in faraway places, and dear friends move away from our midst. And yet, I think it is true that the deepest living involves being connected to other people, and sharing our joys and our trials with them.
Yes, we come to the Temple to pray. We come to the Temple to celebrate the significant occasions of life. But most of all, if the Jewish Temple is to remain relevant in our lives it must be a place where we come together to share life.
But how do we do that as we sit surrounded by so many people whom we do not know? A few thoughts: We need to come more often and make a point of saying “hello” to more people. We need to realize that each of us has a personal story of successes and disappointments, and that there is comfort in sharing ourselves with others. And we need to remind ourselves that we become richer as we give more of ourselves away to others.As we have entered a new year, may we reach out to each other and come closer to one another. For all of us, may this be a year of joy and fulfillment. But may it also be a year when we give strength and hope to one another as we face our challenges and personal trials
Shana Tova and Shabbat Shalom. Yes, “life really is with people.”
Rabbi David Greenberg