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A Jewish-Living Art: Welcoming

03/12/2024 03:21:31 PM

Mar12

Rabbi Me'irah Iliinsky

One of my very favorite verses in the Torah is Exodus 23:9

A stranger you will not oppress, for you know the heart of the stranger, as you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 

We have this value of not oppressing the stranger repeated several times throughout the Torah, but in this instance, we are offered such beautiful reasoning and articulation, really, of the essence of compassion and empathy: You know the heart of the stranger. In other words, this other person is really no stranger to you; you know their very heart. 

One way we express this in our Or Shalom community is by greeting the new people we see coming to our services and events, and taking an interest in them. Someone born Jewish once  said to me that he found more love in churches than in any synagogue he ever entered. He joined a church for his community.

So I recommend this really impactful Jewish-living art, that all of us can easily practice: to notice new folks, greet them with a smile, and get to know them. Everyone wants to be in community, and we have a terrific community in which to invite people, who will only make us more terrific.

Blessings, Rabbi Meā€™irah

Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784