Sunday, September 1, 2013

Communal Connection

Saturday evening (8/31) I officiated Sarah and Edmund's wedding at the Windsor at Hebron Park in Carrollton, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

In the United States we have many different options when it comes to wedding officiants. Therefore, whenever someone contacts me to officiate their wedding, I ask why having a rabbi, specifically, officiate their wedding is important to them.

I get a variety of wonderful and thoughtful answers. I particularly loved the answer I got from Sarah and Edmund. They wanted to get it right from the very start. They wanted Judaism to be a serious and integral part of their shared life and the life of their future children.

Now this might seem like a simple, even simplistic question, but why do people seek to connect with their heritage? Why do WE seek to connect with our Jewish culture?

I believe that the answer lies in the very core of our souls. We all seek meaning in our lives. We can find meaning in ideas and truths we discover. However, the greatest meaning is not found in the I, rather in the thou. The greatest meaning is found through our relationships, through our connecting with others, through our community.

Our cultures give us communal connections both vertical and horizontal, if you will. Through our heritage, passed down to us, we connect with the community of the past. Through passing on our rich civilization to our children, we connect to the community of the future. Through involvement in our culture today, we connect with the community of the present.

Each one of us interprets these connections differently. It is not for naught that we say, "Two Jews, three opinions..."  This is the great beauty of our Jewish culture. It encourages each of us, nay, demands of each of us to do what Sarah and Edmund seek to do in the new home they form today, to form community, to build anew, and to take it and make it our own.

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