Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Years ago, when I moved to a new area and joined a synagogue, I became friendly with the Rabbi. As the High Holidays rolled around, the Rabbi told me I should make sure that I was sitting next to people my own age, so I would have someone to talk to.

“Rabbi,” I said, “You want that during your sermon and during the davening (praying), I should be talking instead of concentrating on the prayers”?

The Rabbi smiled and said, “Whether or not you talk, I am still going to bang on my lectern for quiet”.

The Rabbi understood the importance of socializing. Yes prayer is important, but so is making friends and talking to others. This is why the Jewish service is different from other religions; there is talking going on throughout the service. It can be distracting, but it is important.

Consider, for a moment, the number of youth groups that religious organizations have. There are social groups for older members as well, but things are provided for the members.

My synagogue has two youth groups that cover people from age 12-18. Now, they are looking at starting a pre-youth group for members younger than 12. I do not know if it will work, but I certainly understand the importance. Children of all ages must be shown that we feel they are important. They must know that showing up to religious services is not only spiritually uplifting (although they may not see that yet), but it is a social occasion to be enjoyed as well.

No comments: