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Standing Together -- Chronicle Online/The WORD 09/22/22

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah

September 22, 2022

27 Elul 5782

Parashat Nitzavim

Two years ago, for the High Holidays, the Cantor, our tech team, and I were the only ones in our sanctuary. We were all spread out so that no two of us would be physically close to one another. Last year, a larger group returned to the sanctuary for the High Holidays. We arranged the seats in small clusters so that family groups could sit together without getting too close to people outside of their family bubble. Everyone was masked and had to show proof of vaccination. This year, I would not be so bold as to say that the pandemic is over, but we certainly understand it a little better than we did. Our defenses have been built up thanks to the original vaccinations and boosters. I think many more of us are ready to be together again in community as we welcome in the new year of 5783. While I am certainly sad not everyone will be able to join us in person for a variety of reasons, I am excited that a larger group of us will be together, and that technology will continue to connect us with those who must be at home again this year. Our tradition has always understood the power of being all together and including every member of our community if possible. In this week’s Torah portion, Moses described a ceremony in which the Israelites affirmed the covenant with God that was established at Mt. Sinai. The opening words of the portion are: “You stand this day, all of you, before Adonai—your tribal heads, your elders, and your officials, every man in Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from wood-chopper to water-drawer—to enter into the covenant of your God Adonai, which your God Adonai is concluding with you this day.” On the High Holidays, we come together as a community like our ancestors did to reaffirm our covenant with God. Our age doesn’t matter. Our gender doesn’t matter. Our status doesn’t matter. The whole of the community is greater than the sum of its parts. Our presence makes a difference. I look forward to standing together with my community next week. May the new year bring happiness, good health, and success to us all. L’shanah Tovah. Shalom, RAF.

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