What does being a member of RS mean? Read what one new member said below, then check out ways to get to know the community here.
I have officially joined my synagogue! The Rabbi and the director of membership were both a bit surprised when they realized I was not already a member. In their typical expression of generosity and inclusion they said they already thought of me as a part of the family. It’s as if we had a common law marriage and we have now made it official. When I entered the synagogue for Shabbat services last night, it felt different. I was now a member. A contributor. An official part of the family.
The congregation has always made me feel welcome but last night there was an extra layer. I am no longer a guest, I am also now responsible to take care of the space, build the camaraderie and welcome the newcomers. I have never really felt ownership in something collective before. Maybe in small ways at work or school but not of this magnitude. I am consistently surprised by how my faith continues to deepen, showing me there are infinite layers of such depth. Becoming a member of the synagogue was another plunge. Another way God has taken care of me through adding to my life caring, wonderful, supportive people who will also hold me accountable. A member who I often see in Torah study even approached and invited me to a seder at her house next month. And then when I was leaving another member invited me to the extended Torah study she has been having at her house on Saturdays. These are not coincidence to me but seamless inclusion.
The Rabbi’s lecture focused on the week’s Parashah: Exodus 21:1 – 24:18. Specifically the line spoken by God to Moses, “Come up the mountain and be there.” She asked us what was peculiar about such a line. It took the congregation a minute to decipher. The Rabbi elucidated it for us questioning: if you go up the mountain wouldn’t you be there already? Why separate the ideas? She spoke about how we can be in a place in body but not in mind and/or spirit. That we must have a focus or find an intention when we are with God. Thinking about my intention is one of my favorite ways to engage in my religion but also to engage in my life. I like to stop and take a moment to think about what I am doing and with what end in mind. It has given me richer days. And so too in joining the temple officially. I am stating that my intention is to be a part of. To not just walk in the doors of the shul, but to be there.
– Danielle Cole
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 at 11:00 pm and is filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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RS Blog is the official blog of Congregation Rodeph Shalom of Philadelphia. Rodeph Shalom is the Reform congregation in Center City Philadelphia and has been serving generations of families since 1795.