Shalom from the Shabbat Lady

By Laura Seymour
Dear Families,
We’ve just finished up the season for Jewish holidays and each of us has a “favorite.” Joel Lurie Grishaver, in “40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People,” asks, “After the Messiah comes and people only have to celebrate one Jewish holiday, which one will it be?” (In fact, this question should be asked today, when so many Jews celebrate only one or two holidays.) Talk about this important question with your family. Look at each of the Jewish holidays and at the importance of each. How should we decide (if we really had to)?
The Shabbat Lady votes: With no hesitation or doubt, my vote goes to Simchat Torah! The reasons are endless. Simchat Torah is the ultimate joyful community celebration to bring your children and dance with them; Simchat Torah is the ultimate celebration of learning, focusing our attention on the cycle of study and reminding us of the centrality of Torah to our lives; Simchat Torah will ultimately keep us Jewish, as the Torah is the center of our Jewishness.
So I hope you went to a synagogue on Simchat Torah to dance! Grishaver gives us one final thought: “Celebrate every Jewish holiday like it is the only one you will get to celebrate, and pack all your Jewish feelings into it.”
Dayenu — the literal translation of this wonderful expression that we remember each Passover is — “It would have been enough!” If you took your children to the synagogue for Rosh Hashanah — Dayenu! If you also took them to hear the shofar blown at the end of Yom Kippur — Dayenu! If you ate a few meals in a sukkah (and maybe built your own) — Dayenu! If you danced with the Torah on Simchat Torah — DAYENU! But that really isn’t enough — there is so much more. So when do we begin? TODAY!
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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