Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Feeling at Home All Over

It would be possible to write an article, at least (or, come to think of it, a thread of blog posts) about the many synagogues that are are less than a mile from my home, their variety, the things that are happening that are of lasting significance, and so on. Trends, historical developments, fashions and fads.

But it would be easy also to do the opposite. to note, for example, the you can travel from Jerusalem to wherever there is a Jewish community worldwide, and you can reasonably expect, upon arrival, to find a shul (Yiddish for synagogue) where the service is so close to what you're used to as to be quite painlessly interchangeable. As matter of fact, in the essentials it would be interchangeable with a shul from any place in the Jewish world these past 800 years, or 1,000, or perhaps much longer.

I can empathize with the wish to adapt one's religion to whatever fashion is going at any given moment, but the ability to withstand the urge does create a type of continuity and community that is quite powerful. Very powerful, even.

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