Blog

262
02/26/2016 12:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
February 26, 2016

 

Israel. This week, I’m sitting in the sun in Jerusalem as I write. It’s a glorious city that beckons like no other. Its past, present and future converge in one time and place. It’s impossible to comprehend it all, so I always begin with my senses. I smell the trees and the city neighborhoods. I hear cars honking on busy streets, and church bells and Muslim calls to worship from the surrounding areas. I taste delicious Israeli breakfast, Turkish coffee, and chocolate pastries. I touch everything I see from the Jerusalem stones that cover every building to the leaves of the trees I pass on walks down the street. I see the walls of the Old City beyond the hotel balcony and the building cranes in the distance that mark the past and the future. It’s all here.

                Beyond the streets, the privilege of attending the CCAR Convention this week and serving on its Board of Trustees also takes me into the politics of the times. On Monday, the Board was privileged to meet face-to-face with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a meeting of some length, the Prime Minister was thanked for his nod to the Reform Movement that played a large role in two recent achievements. First, a section at the Western Wall was declared open for egalitarian worship. It’s an achievement that is more than symbolic. It is real for those who worship in a modern, Jewish, Democratic Israel, and it opens the way to persist in achieving pluralistic ideals inherent in our view of Reform Judaism at home and in Israel. The role played by the Reform Movement and its affiliate organizations, such as the Israel Religious Action Center, cannot be underestimated.

                On Wednesday, over 300 Reform rabbis attending the convention filled an auditorium at the Knesset. There our CCAR leaders, Rabbi Denise Eger, Rabbi Steve Fox, URJ President, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, and WUPJ CEO/Executive Director Rabbi Danny Freelander spoke before Members of Knesset about the dynamic and instrumental role of Reform Judaism in pursuing a Jewish and democratic Israel for all. The MKs (members of Knesset) who spoke affirmed their position on a future that seeks a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and raises the stature of non-orthodox Judaism in Israel, so that we can all proclaim that there is one Judaism for one Jewish people in one Jewish state. The gathering was historic and its implications are visionary.

                I am very proud of our Reform Movement’s achievements in the interest of Israel’s well-being and Jewish democratic future. There are no simple answers in the Middle East. As someone once explained, “Anyone who thinks he’s an expert hasn’t been fully informed.” The goal we should all seek is a peace process that isn’t put on hold. If left untended the danger will increase as pressure builds and hope diminishes. Daily efforts towards peace, slow as they might be, are the only way to open the door to possibilities that are thus far out of reach and off the table. We’ve been taught that hope is connected to the future.

                On May 29th, I will return to Israel to lead our 10-day congregational trip. When we come to Israel, we’ll arouse our senses together to experience the past, present and future through history, archeology, technology, and in every special setting from north to south, and east to west.

                Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Israel doesn’t matter. Israel is the only reason that the Middle East isn’t burning. It’s the only hope for millions and millions of Jews who call it home. Israel is the Jewish homeland that fulfills a 2000 year-old dream, which we and our children are entrusted to sustain.



You may contact Rabbi David Lyon here.

261
02/12/2016 12:00 PM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
February 12, 2016

 

In Torah this week, God tells Moses to say to the Israelites, “Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him” (Exodus 25:2). The Hebrew words “asher yidvenu libo” explain the voluntary spirit. Yidvenu means voluntary. Therefore, everybody who donated was called a Nadiv, a noble contributor. Next the people were directed to take all the voluntary contributions and make a Tabernacle, a dwelling place for God. God said, “Make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).

                The voluntary contributions made everyone a stakeholder in the wilderness sanctuary. And every noble contributor was regarded as a member of the covenant. Furthermore, the building project created a wilderness Tabernacle that made it possible for God to move with the people wherever they went. God didn’t remain on Mount Sinai; rather, the covenant bound God and the Israelites to go together.

                Traditionally, the words from Exodus 25:8 have been inscribed on the walls of synagogues. They are a reference to the Torah verse and the meaning of establishing a Tabernacle wherever Jews settled. It’s part of our on-going expectation that God surely did not remain on Mount Sinai. Indeed, the citation from Exodus 25:8 affirmed the hope that wherever the Jewish people lived there would be a Tabernacle, a sanctuary wherein the Jewish community would find God’s presence. So, the Torah portion and the familiar verse represent not only the past when God dwelt in the wilderness Tabernacle, but also the present when our generation brings God along wherever we go.

                Judaism is unique in its emphasis on God’s approachability. There is no intermediary in Judaism. God isn’t only in the synagogue, or as some children grow up to believe, in the Holy Ark. God is everywhere and immediate. God is in the synagogue, in the home, and especially in the heart. We build a beautiful and sacred synagogue. We put a mezuzah on our home, and we value our body as a vessel that houses the soul; therefore, we should keep our body healthy, we shouldn’t pierce our body beyond repair, and we shouldn’t tattoo it as if it were a coloring book.

                Now, it becomes clear why the Jewish home is also called a “Mikdash Me’at” a small sanctuary. It’s a sacred place where God’s presence can be found with us and our family. Oftentimes, the synagogue is regarded as the most important institution in Jewish life, but it isn’t. The Jewish home is the most vital part of the Jewish community. I’ve often said, ‘If Judaism isn’t happening at home; it isn’t happening.” We can’t lay the responsibility for Jewish living solely on the synagogue. It’s a resource of everything we need, but not the bearer of our personal Jewish responsibilities.

                God is with us everywhere we go. Our contributions to synagogue, home and body tell much about our “noble” character. Everybody who brings contributions to support Jewish life, whether a little or a lot, is a noble contributor. That’s the beauty of mitzvah; it’s not for the sake of the reward, but for the sake of the mitzvah. This week, bring God with you wherever you go. Make room for God in the synagogue, at home with you, and in your heart along the way.


You may contact Rabbi David Lyon here.

Blog Search

Categories

Archives

201807July2
July 2018 (2)
201806June4
June 2018 (4)
201805May3
May 2018 (3)
201804April4
April 2018 (4)
201803March5
March 2018 (5)
201802February4
February 2018 (4)
201801January4
January 2018 (4)
201712December4
December 2017 (4)
201711November2
November 2017 (2)
201710October2
October 2017 (2)
201708August3
August 2017 (3)
201707July4
July 2017 (4)
201706June4
June 2017 (4)
201705May2
May 2017 (2)
201704April3
April 2017 (3)
201703March4
March 2017 (4)
201702February3
February 2017 (3)
201701January3
January 2017 (3)
201612December4
December 2016 (4)
201611November3
November 2016 (3)
201610October3
October 2016 (3)
201609September4
September 2016 (4)
201608August2
August 2016 (2)
201607July5
July 2016 (5)
201606June2
June 2016 (2)
201605May3
May 2016 (3)
201604April4
April 2016 (4)
201603March3
March 2016 (3)
201602February2
February 2016 (2)
201601January4
January 2016 (4)
201512December4
December 2015 (4)
201511November3
November 2015 (3)
201510October2
October 2015 (2)
201509September2
September 2015 (2)
201508August4
August 2015 (4)
201507July5
July 2015 (5)
201506June4
June 2015 (4)
201505May2
May 2015 (2)
201504April5
April 2015 (5)
201503March3
March 2015 (3)
201502February4
February 2015 (4)
201501January4
January 2015 (4)
201412December3
December 2014 (3)
201411November3
November 2014 (3)
201410October4
October 2014 (4)
201409September2
September 2014 (2)
201408August3
August 2014 (3)
201407July3
July 2014 (3)
201406June3
June 2014 (3)
201405May3
May 2014 (3)
201404April4
April 2014 (4)
201403March3
March 2014 (3)
201402February4
February 2014 (4)
201401January5
January 2014 (5)
201312December3
December 2013 (3)
201311November3
November 2013 (3)
201310October4
October 2013 (4)
201309September2
September 2013 (2)
201308August5
August 2013 (5)
201307July4
July 2013 (4)
201306June4
June 2013 (4)
201305May5
May 2013 (5)
201304April4
April 2013 (4)
201303March4
March 2013 (4)
201302February4
February 2013 (4)
201301January5
January 2013 (5)
201212December4
December 2012 (4)
201211November5
November 2012 (5)
201210October4
October 2012 (4)
201209September2
September 2012 (2)
201208August5
August 2012 (5)
201207July4
July 2012 (4)
201206June3
June 2012 (3)
201205May5
May 2012 (5)
201204April4
April 2012 (4)
201203March5
March 2012 (5)
201202February4
February 2012 (4)
201201January4
January 2012 (4)
201112December5
December 2011 (5)
201111November3
November 2011 (3)
201110October3
October 2011 (3)
201109September4
September 2011 (4)
201108August4
August 2011 (4)
201107July3
July 2011 (3)
201106June4
June 2011 (4)
201105May4
May 2011 (4)
201104April4
April 2011 (4)
201103March5
March 2011 (5)
201102February4
February 2011 (4)
201101January4
January 2011 (4)
201012December5
December 2010 (5)
201011November4
November 2010 (4)
201010October5
October 2010 (5)
201009September2
September 2010 (2)
201008August2
August 2010 (2)
201006June3
June 2010 (3)
201005May5
May 2010 (5)
201004April3
April 2010 (3)
Captavi QixSuite™ - Hosted Marketing Automation Software ©