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Keruv Article: Words from Sinai

05/07/2018 12:52:58 PM

May7

We’ll observe the festival of Shavuot on Sunday and Monday, May 20th and 21st, celebrating the gift given to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai several thousand years ago.

The gift is, of course, the Torah, which establishes God’s covenant with the people of Israel, a promise God made to Abraham generations earlier.

The message that Moses brings down from the mountain to seal the sacred covenant looks back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also speaks of future generations and millennia. The Torah itself explains that God covenants not only with those standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, but “…with those who are standing here with us this day before the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here this day.” Deut. 29:14.  From these words, the Rabbis derive that subsequent generations and the converts of the future were also included. Masekhet Shevuot (39a).

These words surrounding the gift of Torah are words of inclusion. The Torah was a gift to every man, woman and child at Sinai “…your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer….” (Deut. 29:9), to future generations of Israel, and to those who choose to join Israel.  

Perhaps one of the many interpretations that can be drawn from the words at Sinai is that inclusion, too, is a commandment for the people of Israel, one that will help us thrive and increase.  Is there an inherent tension between diversity and a sense of belonging?  What is it that holds us together and defines us?  It is a question the Conservative movement and the entire Jewish people are pondering in this era of increased divisiveness and polarization.  In that spirit, Rabbi Schuck and the Keruv Committee agreed that Inclusion and Community was a “Hot Topic” worthy of discussion.   We hope you were among the lucky ones to catch the last of this year’s very successful What Keeps Your Rabbi Up at Night? series on April 21…  One of the ways our diverse community connects is by sharing our views and perspectives in an open, warm and respectful forum!

In May, we will be hosting our last Let’s Talk About It gathering for the year.  This is a caring and supportive discussion group, led by Shari Baum, for parents to talk about their children’s relationships with partners who are not Jewish.  It will be held on Thursday, May 10 at 7:30 in the home of Phoebe and Peter Gross.  (See ad.)  All are welcome.

The Keruv Committee works, as do many of those in our community, to ensure that every Jewish adult and child has an opportunity to thrive within Judaism and thereby help Judaism thrive. Join us.

Nina Luban

Elise Richman

Keruv Committee Co-chairs  

Thu, September 23 2021 17 Tishrei 5782