Rabbi’s message January 6, 2019

Message from the Rabbi January 6, 2019
Dear congregants and friends of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor:
It is always a thrill for me to spend Shabbat with the inspiring and friendly people
at L’Dor Va-Dor, and I look forward to this special time each week. It is a
privilege to carry on the traditions of our ancestors, extending through the ages to
our grandparents and parents. In my case, I am most fortunate to have my
mother at the piano, and to have co-officiated for over a decade with my father,
Rabbi Samuel Silver who launched our congregation on a journey of rational
Judaism. On the first page of his book “Explaining Judaism to Jews and
Christians, he states, “
The spokesmen of Judaism have always hearkened to the
precept laid down by the prophet Isaiah, who said
, “
Come let us reason
together.” (Chap 1, verse 18). Jews are willing to accept the challenge that a
Jewish belief which cannot be buttressed by logic need not be accepted. We
prefer not to ask our people to accept a doctrine ‘on faith alone’
”. Thus, my
father preached that belief in God should be viewed as a working hypothesis,
and accepted only if our concept of God is consistent with logic and reason.
In this spirit, nearly two years ago, our congregants voted to modify our Mission
Statement to reflect an experiment in Judaism which has taken us “on the road
less traveled”, and as Robert Frost said, “This has made all the difference.” Thus,
we take the best of all Jewish denominations and merge Judaism with science,
spirituality, social action and love. We are in the process of choosing a name for
this unique approach, and invite your comments. Some names that have been
proposed include, evolutionary Judaism, post-denominational Judaism,
inspiRational Judaism and Cosmic Judaism. If you have a name to suggest or
feedback about some of the proposals, feel free to contact me any time.
In keeping with our innovative approach, we now offer our Rockin’ Shabbat on
the first Friday of the month. Our last such Shabbat celebration, which took
place on January 3, was enthusiastically received by a packed house, led by our
guest cantor David Presler. I have written original lyrics to the tune of rock
music. Each song is designed to convey a kavanah (religious feeling) in lyrical
form, and to enhance the spirituality we hope to achieve on Shabbat. We
encourage you to join us in this exciting Shabbat experience, and to invite your
friends and family to as well so we can spread the word.
This Friday, we will celebrate simchas of congregants, including the 97
of our member Horace Hecht, who survived the holocaust and other vicissitudes
throughout his life to reach this wonderful milestone. He and his wife Mildred,
are in need of a computer, and if anyone has a spare computer that they no
longer need, this would make a great birthday present and would be a mitzvah.
In furtherance of our reason based approach and my father’s love of debate and
dialogue of important issues, we conduct timely discussions every month. On
January 15, we will have world recognized authority on climate change, John
Englander, address our congregation and guests. We encourage everyone to join
us not only to hear about the issue, but to learn concrete and simple things we
can all do to help, and to hear a Jewish response to the crisis.
Another timely discussion will take place on Wednesday, January 16, when the
topic “Should President Trump be impeached” will be discussed. While some feel
that such topics should remain off limits in the synagogue, the Reform and other
progressive movements of Judaism do not share this view, and have not only
been vociferous in their condemnation of some of the policies coming out of
Washington these days, they have praised rabbis and other Jewish activists who
were arrested in the Capitol in protest against the treatment of immigrants.
Both sides will be presented in this discussion and all opinions are welcome. Our
purpose is to further the dream of our forefathers of an enlightened people,
serving as a light to the nations, by placing reason at the pinnacle of human
achievement, and a Jewish people that is sufficiently cohesive, robust and united
to be able to withstand the exchange of diverse views.
As we continue to explore new ways to make our heritage come alive, and to
experience rational spirituality, we look to you, our members, friends and guests
for your feedback, suggestions, and participation. Please feel free to call upon
me any time to let me know what we are doing right and how we can do better,
and please let me know if you would like to discuss anything, including how I can
be of service to you.
Warm Regards and a very Happy New Year to all,
Rabbi Barry Silver