May 3, 2018 18 Iyar, 5778
TONIGHT IS THIRTY-FOUR DAYS, WHICH IS FOUR WEEKS AND SIX DAYS, OF THE OMER
The first synagogue I joined as an adult burned to the ground within weeks after joining it. Only one item was rescued–the Torah scrolls from Prague that had survived the Holocaust. The ensuing rallying round of local people, Christian churches, and synagogues in neighboring towns, as well as the support of the wider Reform Jewish community, aided our small congregation to stay the course and struggle to build a beautiful, new sanctuary.
The intervening years of Shabbat worship and holiday celebrations held in our modest social hall with our beloved Torah (with high holy days and b’nei mitvah held in local churches and synagogues) reinforced for me that being Jewish is something we carry in our hearts and minds and express in caring for and supporting one another, even as we lived without the physical comfort of the synagogue which we eventually rebuilt and came to enjoy —a lesson not lost on our children who came of age during that time of loss and rebuilding.