September 2015 – Message From Rabbi Arnow

We get more from what we build and create ourselves than from what we are given.” -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks via Jeannie Appleman

I love to eat, and I love to cook. I enjoy a great meal in an outstanding restaurant as much as the next person. I’ve moaned over bites, refused to share, marveled at textures, at flavors, at colors, at techniques. But when I cook something of which I am proud, the degree of enjoyment is much higher, and deeper. There’s something about making a cherry pie with sour cherries that my family has picked, that I’ve washed and rewashed, and pitted, and frozen, and defrosted, and sweetened, with a crust that I’ve mixed and chilled and rolled out and shaped, and then baking the pie to a perfect, golden brown that yields a deeper satisfaction than any pie I can get anywhere else.

Synagogue and community are the same as a meal or a cherry pie–when we have helped to create and build an experience, an event, a moment, an institution, or a community, it is more satisfying, more meaningful and more personal than when we are merely consumers of that experience, event, moment, institution or community.

How can you be a builder, a creator, a partner in creating the High Holidays at Kol Rinah this year? To make an experience that will touch almost a thousand people over High Holiday season, Kol Rinah needs your help. There are ways for every single person to help, regardless of age or ability. Pick up the phone and call the office, 314.727.1747, and let us know the way(s) you can help to create the holidays for yourself and for our community.

We need ushers to help direct traffic–cars and people–and make sure everyone knows where they are going inside and outside the building. We need volunteers to distribute name tags so people can feel known and appreciated at their synagogue, and we need people to sort the name tags after each day, so they can be ready for the next day.

We need people to help sing, on the bima, during the holidays, to create a full, rich and beautiful sound that will encourage the entire congregation to sing along. We need people who will sing from their seats, to create a sound that will reverberate with joy in our walls, and in our hearts. We need people who will daven (pray) intensely and seriously, and create around them a little bubble of intensity, seriousness and spirit wherever they are in the Sanctuary.

This year, we will have a robust complement of study and prayer experiences parallel to the service in the Sanctuary. We need people to come and participate and sing and study and question and argue and engage–to be active participants to create the experience.

We need people–hundreds of them–who will smile when someone sits down next to them. We need people–again, hundreds–to smile when a child cries, when someone complains, when someone looks lost, or confused, or alone. And after the smile, a kind word, an offer of help to find a page, a seat, a cane, or a friend–we need people to help with all of those things.

We need your generosity of spirit, your patience when for your taste it’s too hot or cold, too quiet or loud, too fast or slow, too crowded or too empty, too familiar or too new.

The more actively you participate and help, the more you will own and feel a part of the High Holidays at Kol Rinah, and the more you will open yourself to being transformed and renewed by these Days of Awe.

What gifts do you have to offer our community, and ultimately, yourself, this High Holiday season? By finding a way to give–of your heart, of your hands, of your spirit, of your smile–you will help create the synagogue and community that you–and we all–need.