Shalom Bayit

This weekend, we held our annual Aultshuler Scholar in Residence. This year, it was Rabbi Steve Greenberg.

On Friday night, Rabbi Greenberg challenged all of us to imagine what sort of bayit, what sort of home, Temple Shalom could be to all of us. He taught us that generally, the life of a synagogue can be divided up into thee different houses: a beit tefillah (a place to pray), a beit midrash (a place to learn), or a beit kenesset (a place to gather). In some form or fashion, we are some combination of all three, and different synagogues will emphasize these houses in different ways.

And so I am left to wonder: who are we? What type of bayit is Temple Shalom? To answer that question, I really do believe that we have to be honest about how we personally connect to the Jewish tradition. The focus of our congregation in some ways reflect the values that you embody. In what ways do you connect to our place, our people, our teachings? Is it through study, prayer, action, or some combination?

Rabbi Larry Kushner teaches that there are three types of Jews: head Jews, heart Jews, and hand Jews. This is a riff off of Pirkei Avot, which teaches us that “Upon three things the world stands, on Torah, worship, and acts of loving kindness.” We connect to the Jewish tradition in different ways, and in different combinations, given where we may be in our lives. And when we can articulate the ways that we have positively connected before, and where we are with all of this in our present lives, then we have the ability to envision who we would also like to be, to determine what sort of house we would like to continue to work to build together.

This past weekend of study I found really thought provoking and engaging. Rabbi Greenberg gave us a lot to chew on, and I feel like we would be loosing a rich opportunity were it to be the end of the conversation! Coffee date anyone?

3 thoughts on “Shalom Bayit

  1. Julie Vanek says:

    I was struck during Rabbi Greenberg’s session on Friday evening by the fact that just as he was challenging us to envision what Temple Shalom could be to each of us, we are asking that very question of our ourselves in our current house meeting campaign. What Temple Shalom will look like 5-10 years down the road should be a composite of what our members think, and not something that the professionals and lay leaders dream up. Everyone has the opportunity to dream and contribute to this conversation by attending a house meeting. Do let us know if you haven’t yet attended one as there are many more happening in the weeks ahead.

  2. Naomi says:

    I would love to be included in the house meeting project. I hope I’m not too late… Thanks!

  3. Lana Croft says:

    This is exactly the kind of question I want to ask our Congregation in Texas….What is your personal dream of what our Temple could be? Of course! We want to be a combination of head, heart and hands. Thank you for the inspriation.

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