Just a Jew in the Pew?

September 2018 Newsletter Article

The High Holidays are relatively early this year, and it seems appropriate that this month’s column should speak to the importance of this time of year. The problem I’m finding is that I’m just a “Jew in the pew”, as the phrase goes. Rabbi Perry will inevitably be more eloquent, provide more insight, and be more knowledgeable on themes related to the High Holidays than I will ever be.

My brother, trying to be supportive, suggested that I could google ideas for what to write about this month.  Someone else suggested that I could write about how imposing it feels to need to write something with appropriate significance.Instead, I’ll settle for asking you to accept that this isn’t one of my strengths.  I’m not trained as a motivational speaker, or highly educated in our traditions.  I do care about my Jewish identity and the journey I am on to find its meaning for myself.  I enjoy learning more and occasionally find a piece that I can use in my everyday life. I have learned in the past decade that my Jewishness should extend beyond the walls of our synagogue, that it is meant to be a part of myself that I carry all day, every day.  It informs my ethics and my world view.  I know I care deeply about Congregation Shalom, and about making it a place that finds a space for each and every person who comes here.

The reality is that we can each fit Judaism into ourselves in different ways.  As your president, I work hard to sustain and grow Congregation Shalom.  I’m okay with not being the best at writing about the High Holidays.  I know that I start this new year feeling ready to continue growing Jewishly.  And for this coming year, that includes being dedicated to doing my part to lead.  I hope that each of you reading this feels able to find a way to bring Judaism and Congregation Shalom into your life.

Shanah tova – wishing you a happy new year,
Joanna Myers