September 23, 2007

Thank you, Aish NY

I had been a member of a local shul for three years until it went extremely progressive. The shul was within walking distance from my home; in fact, it was a very treasured walkable distance, which made attendance a delight, even though some erev shabbat discussions on whether God existed or how as a congregation we could promote homosexual unions in Judaism, were not so. The liberal congregation was more intent on how we could increase our rapport with local Muslims than they were committed to acknowledging the legitimacy of the sovereign nation of Israel, or helping victims of Muslim terror. Clearly, I wanted more out of my shul. I wanted a rabbi who believed in HaShem and who would masterfully transfer his faith to his congregation, I wanted to belong to a congregation whose members believed in HaShem, and most of all, I wanted tradition, not reformation. So I abandoned my little shul and my dream of being a member of a congregation in this little corner of town. It hurt.

Then two years ago I discovered www.nomembershiprequired.com, a site dedicated to identifying High Holiday services in over 50 cities nationwide, where if you are not a member, it's not a problem. I entered my geography and - bingo - I discovered an Aish shul, and for the past three High Holidays, I have been able to participate in services in an Orthodox shul, where the men sit apart from the women, and where I have been able to be a member of a faithful Orthodox community. The only problem is that I can't walk there for weekly services. I'll figure something out.

With this post, I wish to declare my deepest appreciation to the Rabbis at Aish NY for their dedicated leadership to their congregation, for their moving and pious attention to each word in the Machzor, and for their inspired discussions on HaShem, atonement, forgiveness, rebirth, mercy, and Jerusalem. May HaShem Bless each of you and your families with good health, prosperity and joy in the New Year.