A question that comes up often – Is there a Jewish community in Palm Coast? My answer is yes! The question where, usually follows and the answer I give of course is, at Temple Beth Shalom, where the Jewish Community has been served for over 40 years.
The question that I have to raise here is why is it important to have a strong knit Jewish Community? Then I follow that up with the extremely important question, how do you figure in the equation?
We all know that a family carries with it certain characteristics and how often are we just amazed and awed to see ourselves in our children. We transmit our characteristics through our genes; hair color, eye color, a nose and they are only three. We even pass on being Jewish to our children as a birthright. So let us revisit that question about why it is important to have a strong knit Jewish Community. We pass to our children Judaism, but it is only a word. The Jewish people have prevailed for almost six thousand years, but the culture, the essence, the flavor is not attained through osmosis, being Jewish is not something automatically achieved. The Jewish people and the Jewish community, have only continued to exist because of education and dedication to an idea. We short change our children if they are not given a chance to “experience” being Jewish. To learn about the history of Judaism, the holidays important to the Jewish people, the flavors of traditional foods, the rituals and probably the most amazing gift from G-d, the magnificent Torah, a living relevant document that has seen the Jewish people through all those years from Moses to today. Our children watch us very carefully and learn many important lessons some very good and unfortunately, some not so good. Some taught overtly and yes, many are taught covertly. Judaism however, is taught in the synagogue. Judaism is taught as a community with a minyan. The lessons are presented to enhance our spiritual lives and give us a moral and ethical center. We cannot and must not let our G-d given unique heritage dissipate because we deny or block our children from being exposed to learning about being Jewish. Through education, through the experiences of being part of the minyan, sharing the history and the excitement of different holidays, our young people will be able to make an educated decision and understand what being Jewish means and carry that heritage on into the future. We owe that much to ourselves. We owe that much to our children.
Please do not think your children are not watching. Show them we have a strong Jewish Community that is making a valuable contribution to society. Step up and join the community and take part in the synagogue as much as you can and bring your children with you to share in the special part of your heritage, being Jewish.
I ask you the unaffiliated Jews, those who deny your Judaism, those who have forgotten you are Jewish, those ashamed of being Jewish, those who have had a bad experience at a synagogue in the past to make the effort to meet us part of the way so that we can help you to see the fantastic possibilities spiritually and socially this Jewish Community can offer you and offer your children.