The Sephardic Community of Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Our Shul is More Than Just a Place to Pray…

In America, a shul is more than just a place to pray and study.  In our daily life we work and live on a daily basis with people of varying faiths and nationalities, the majority of restaurants are teeming with delicious looking treif, and just walking through the mall or watching TV we are bombarded with images of inappropriate violence and sex.   A shul is not just a place to pray, a shul is a place to remind us, and to teach our children, who we are.  

Shabbat is a time for us to rest and recharge our batteries, to pray and spend some time with Hashem and our family.  But it is also a time to connect with other Jews.  To strengthen our spirit by joining with other Jews to remember our purpose for living this way.  We are not alone in this struggle to maintain a spiritual life in the face of so many obstacles – in the face of so many Jews who have abandoned the path.  It is easy to give in when you are alone.  But you are not alone.  You are not just a Jew, but part of a nation – the nation of Israel. 

The shul is not here to remind you of the rules and ensure you are following them to a tee.  We are not here to judge your level of observance.  We are here to experience the observances with you.  To say Amen together at Kiddush Shabbat morning, to sit in the Succah and break bread with you, to teach our children how to play dreidel on Hanukah together.  The shul is here for prayer and to provide Minyanim, but the shul is also here to provide a community to share a common life with.  It is for us to stand side by side to show Hashem that we are still his nation of Israel and we have not forgotten.  So many have broken the chain.  Come to shul to remind yourself that you are part of it.

As is written in the Avot Derabbi Nathan “He who welcomes his friend with a smile is as one giving him the finest gifts in the world.”

 Have a good Shabbat.  ~Sharon.

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