Back to Shul!
Rabbi Tzvi Muller
I hope you are well. With Labor Day almost upon us, we have all probably seen our fair share of “back to school” promotions, sales, and advice. As summer begins to fade away, excitement (even if it is subdued somewhat by summer’s ending) is in the air. A new year of learning begins! Children will again be waiting at their bus stops and carpools will start anew. A whole world of promise awaits these youngsters. Education is their portal to success in life!
At what point in a person’s life does one’s need for an education end? After high school? After university? When does a person know everything they need to know in life? Perhaps a more important question to ask is: What are the things a person needs to know in life? Reading, writing, and arithmetic? Surely! Geography, history and science? Yes! Philosophy, civics, and the arts? Of course! But what about how to be a good spouse, a good parent, or a good friend? What about the wisdom needed to navigate through life’s everyday ethical issues? What about finding inner peace, joy, and meaning in life’s purpose? Do we learn all that in school as children? Is this knowledge fully imparted to us as young adults in college? Do we now, as mature adults, know all the answers to life’s important questions? Our need to further our education never ends, but where do we go now to learn about that which is most important in life?
Interestingly, the Jewish word for synagogue, “shul,” is derived from the German word for school, “schule.” It suggests that there is a vital role synagogues should play in meeting our need for more knowledge, wisdom, and insight. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our synagogues filled this educational void in our lives? It seems that was the original intention for what a synagogue should be - hence the name “shul.”
In our new vision for the Chai Center, we will strive to become such a place for our community. We want to go back to “schule”! We want a shul that is, what in ancient times it was understood to be, a place for continuing education and enlightenment.
Summer is almost over and it is time to go back to school. Many of you are returning to town and to your regular routine. We welcome you back to shul! We want you to be a part of building and enjoying a congregation that is a “shul” in the full sense of the word! If you haven’t yet, please be in touch with me. I'd love for us to get to know each other. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gut Shabbos and Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Tzvi Muller