The Beaumont Rabbi’s Blog
In an effort to be bipartisan, a pair of articles, one appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the other appearing in the New York Times, discussed a phenomenon that has been in the air for a few decades yet has flown under the radar for most of us. The subtle and sensitive issue (at least for some) discussed in these two pieces is the quiet encroachment of contemporary Christian practice (particularly in the fundamental Christian community) into the sphere of Judaism, specifically Jewish ritual and symbolism.
Research confirms it. The most widely observed ritual in the Jewish world is the Passover Seder. More Jews worldwide participate in a Passover Seder than any other Jewish ritual. And why not? It includes three elements vital to the success of any dinner gathering: great food and lots of it, required consumption of numerous glasses of wine (while showing deferential respect to those around the table in recovery), and an ancient story that remains relevant as well as stimulates discussion and debate. The Passover Seder is the first, and continues to be, the most effective family education program and dinner party game plan ever conceived. It was only a matter of time before the Passover Seder began to attract serious attention from folks beyond the Jewish community.
“Rabbi, would you please lead us in a prayer?”
If I had a nickel for every time I am asked that question, I could seriously consider early retirement. However, if I had a nickel for every time I became choked up while leading that prayer, I might be able to buy a cup of coffee.
I participated in the “Big Dig” at the giving field on October 13th. After Shabbat morning worship & Torah study I spent the rest of a beautiful Sabbath day laboring to build one of the most important and long overdue projects in Beaumont. It was backbreaking work… And I rarely felt closer to God than I did at the end of that day.
The first book I ever purchased with my own money was The Life & Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. published by Scholastic Book Services. I was a student in the sixth grade. The book cost me all of $.60 plus shipping and handling. I can’t remember what inspired me to make this significant purchase, but I recall being asked at the Youth Group Retreat during my freshman year of high school to identify the individual who inspired me the most and my reply was Martin Luther King, Jr. More than Moses at Mount Sinai or Abraham at Sodom and Gomorrah, Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial was the first human being to stir my soul and spark my imagination.