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A Time to Choose

01/30/2020 01:01:16 PM

Jan30

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of preparing to offer the Paschal sacrifice and then leave Egypt, the Israelites are called upon to engage in an odd ritual of “teaming up.” Bringing a lamb an as offering would not have been unusual for the ancient Israelites. That is what Moses had been asking Pharaoh for permission to do all along. Sprinkling the blood on the doorpost as a sign would have been daring, but not inexplicable. By doing so, they declared their allegiance to God, and showed that they were not afraid of, or aligned with, their Egyptian oppressors.

It is fascinating is that even before the sacrificing and the sprinkling, each Israelite had to commit to a particular lamb, joining with family and friends to designate which one would be their sacrifice. Ideally, the entire Jewish people would be united by the Exodus experience. Why divide and subdivide into subgroups? Furthermore, why commit to belonging to a particular group, rather than declaring, as we do today “let all who are hungry come and eat?”

 

Perhaps one answer is that, even as we have a national shared commitment and vision, we feel most connected through a smaller group experience. It is not just enough to declare ourselves as part of a general whole. We find even greater purpose when we combine that general identification with a commitment to specific individuals and approaches.

 

There's another important selection process going on in the Jewish world right now that exemplifies that idea, the World Zionist Congress. Jews around the world are committing themselves, not to a particular sheep or goat, but to a particular approach to how to help Israel and the Jewish world. The Congress makes important decisions about how various organizations will work together to serve the Jewish people, and how hundreds of millions of dollars are allocated to organizations in Israel and here in Atlanta. Even as we support the Jewish people as a whole, we want to make sure that our own values and community are supported.

 

Will construction be finished on the “Conservative Kotel” where we are able to have bar/bat mitzvahs at the Western Wall? Will there be continued funding for the Shinshinim program that brings young Israelis to teach in our synagogue and other institutions?

With continued uncertainty and new peace plans (which I will speak about this Shabbat morning in synagogue), our keeping a close connection with Israel is more important than ever. By voting in the election, you choose representatives from Israel and Jewish communities around the world who will work towards our Jewish values. Will only one kind of Judaism be recognized, or will Jews of different spiritual approaches be supported and encouraged? Your vote for Mercaz (the number 6 slate) in the elections ensures that these efforts reflect the values of our synagogue, and that synagogues like ours, in Israel and around the world, get their fair share of the funding that our Federation sends overseas. Our own Rabbi Konigsburg is on the Mercaz slate. Every vote really matters - based on the results of last election, if every member of our congregation voted, we would actually add another representative! To find out more, and make a difference by voting in the election, please visit

https://www.mercazusa.org/votemercaz/.

 

Thu, February 27 2020 2 Adar 5780