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Holy Tequila!!

Rabbi Micah Streiffer

When my oldest son was about three years old, he came home from preschool singing a song that sounded suspiciously like “tequila kedoshah.” Suspecting that our Jewish preschool wasn’t actually teaching the kids a song that translates into “holy tequila,” I did a little research and discovered that the words he was butchering were actually “Kehilah Kedoshah – Holy Community.” That’s more like it! While I do appreciate the occasional tequila, it is holy community that stands at the centre of our Jewish lives.

That’s an idea that is especially evident at this time of the year. This month, we will celebrate Shavuot, the holiday which traditionally commemorates Matan Torah – the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Our tradition is careful to describe this revelation as a communal event, a group experience: “You stand this day – all of you – to enter into covenant with God” (Deuteronomy 29).

We often hear the idea that “we all stood at Sinai.” It’s a funny teaching: You were there, even if you weren’t there. You received the Torah, even if it happened before you were born. I think it is Judaism’s way of including all of us in the experience, of making Torah not just something that happened once to some of us, but something that all of us are continually participating in. In Reform Judaism, we celebrate Shavuot with the service of Confirmation. By inviting our Grade 10 students back onto the Bima three years after they became Bar/Bat Mitzvah, we confirm that they, too, stood at Sinai. And we affirm that they are an important part of our community. Please come and support our students at the Confirmation Service, Saturday, June 8 at 7:45 pm.

Another expression of the value of Holy Community at Kol Ami is our shift away from dues and toward the Voluntary Community Support model. Now entering its second year, this is a whole new way of thinking about what it means to be part of a synagogue: instead of “paying for membership,” we support our shared community together – making it stronger with our resources, our talents, and our presence. More information will be forthcoming in this year’s renewal email, and I invite you to reach out to me or to a member of the Board if you have questions about this innovative direction that our congregation chose a year ago.

I feel fortunate to be part of this unique and holy congregation, and to share it with each of you. As this year begins to draw to a close, I am thankful for the experiences that we have shared in recent months, and I look forward to lots more singing, praying, learning, and celebrating (with or without the holy tequila) over the summer and in the new year.

Bivracha – With blessings,

Rabbi Micah Streiffer

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783