Sharing the Light Rabbi David S. Widzer
The Torah portion this week, Beha’alotcha, begins with instructions to Moses and Aaron about lighting the lamps of the Menorah in the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary the Israelites carried with them as they traveled in the wilderness.
When I think about them lighting those lamps, it reminds me of one of my favorite stories (which I’m sure I’ve told before) of a wealthy woman in a small town who decided to build her synagogue a new building. The only condition was that no one was allowed to see the building until it was completed.
The months passed and finally the construction was done. When the congregation gathered with great excitement to enter the building and see their new home, they were impressed by its features: beautiful tiles and woodwork, a gorgeous sanctuary, a tremendous library and classrooms, comfortable gathering spaces, everything a synagogue could want. A child, however, noticed what everyone else had missed. In the entire building, there was not one light – no lamps, no bulbs, no illumination of any kind. Instead, all around the walls in every room, about eyelevel, were hooks.
The woman gathered the community together. She handed each person a lantern. Each lantern had a metal loop on its top, perfect for hanging on the hooks on the walls. She explained, “Whenever you come to the synagogue, bring your lantern and light it. Share your light with others. If you are not here, the community will be a little bit darker. But when you are all here together, the entire community will shine brightly!” The community took her wisdom to heart. Whenever they gathered, they glowed with the light that they all provided together.
After 8 years at Temple Beth El and Kol Dorot, my family and I are now preparing to depart New Jersey and bring our metaphorical lanterns to my next congregation in Virginia. This coming Friday night will be my final Shabbat evening with our community and Saturday morning Torah Study will be our last opportunity to learn together.
As my time with the community comes to an end, I am heartened by all of the light we have shared together over these years: the light of study and of spirituality, of comfort and of celebration, of friendship and of fellowship, of Torah and its teachings. I am proud of all we have accomplished by sharing our lights and our lives together, creating a community of meaning and a center of Jewish living and learning. May Kol Dorot’s light shine bright for generations to come.
This Friday, June 12th, at 7:30pm, please join us for a special Shabbat service to honor and thank Rabbi Widzer, as he concludes his service at Kol Dorot. Details will be sent later this week.
A Discussion About Racism, Black Lives Matter, and What Kol Dorot Can Do
Wednesday, June 10, 7:00pm
Check your daily email for details on how to join the discussion.
At Shabbat services on Friday, we heard a message from Evan Traylor, a Black rabbinical student who called on the Jewish community to get active in the movement against racism and racist violence.
On Wednesday night, we will come together to hear from some other Black Jewish leaders, reflect on what we have seen in our country these past two weeks, and discuss potential ways forward, individually and as the Kol Dorot community.
Engraved Brick Orders
*Deadline is Sunday, June 14*
Note: If you are filling out the paper form included in your "Shabbat ShaBag," please mail it to our new address, 660 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 07649.
Rabbi David and Patsy Tribute Boards
Please join us in honoring the years of service and dedication Rabbi Widzer and Patsy Deonandan have provided our community and in celebrating the next chapter of their lives.
We invite you to share your best wishes for them virtually through our Tribute Boards, where you can upload videos, photos, and notes that express wonderful memories and congratulations. Simply click on the link to each Tribute Board below and follow the instructions.