Profound Moments: Twice Asked “Are You Jewish?”

September 20, 2011

by Carl Schneider, presented at 09/16/11 Shabbat service

 I have lived comfortably in immediate communities that were significantly or overwhelmingly Jewish. My boyhood home was in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia. It was so Jewish that I remember going to elementary school one day to find that there were no other students. The custodian told me that it was a teacher in-service day because it was a Jewish holiday and no kids were expected. I assure you it was not one of the High Holidays, or one of the other biggies like Passover, when even my non-observant parents knew to keep me home. I think the day in question was something like Lag B’Omer or Tu B’shevat. As a result, I have had very little personal experience with overt anti-Semitism Despite my comfortable surroundings, I have always felt that being Jewish separates me, as part of a small minority, from the larger society. Read the rest of this entry »

Shabbat at RS: A Palace in Time

September 12, 2011

 by Rabbi Bill Kuhn

The vision of Congregation Rodeph Shalom is to offer the kind of Friday evening Shabbat worship service which will help create profound connections among all of our congregants. On Friday evenings we hope all of our congregation will come together to welcome Shabbat and to pray together, to support each other in times of need and in times of joy, to socialize together and to build a strong sense of community.  In order to do this, we are trying to create the kind of uplifting and transformative worship service that will attract the diverse population within Rodeph Shalom, a service which will be participatory, warm, inclusive, welcoming, spiritual and meaningful, which will help everyone connect with each other, with the soul of Jewish prayer, and with God. Read the rest of this entry »

In My Own Backyard: A Profound Moment

September 8, 2011

by Marsha Weinraub, presented at Sep. 2, 2011 Shabbat service

My profound moment happened right here, at RS. First, let me provide some context. I grew up a secular Jew in a Jewish neighborhood in Philadelphia. I trained at a Jewish University, and I became a member of a very Jewish profession. Yet, Judaism had no meaning for me. By the time I was 19 years old, I knew that there was no God. I had already figured out that the concept of God was a creation of human weakness in the face of the Great Unknown; I knew that God was an attempt to explain what could not yet be explained. Marx had called religion an opiate of the people. Clearly, this was not my drug of choice. Read the rest of this entry »