Posted by: Subway Conductor | September 29, 2009

October 2009

From Rabbi Michael Arsers:

We study Torah, we teach Torah, we chant Torah, we live our lives by Torah, but, on Simchas Torah, we also dance with the Torah.  I am convinced that it is this love of Torah that has kept us alive throughout all the centuries.  Simchas Torah is my favorite Jewish holiday.  There is nothing which is more Jewish than dancing with the Torah.  I believe that there is nothing that can bring us closer to G-d.  Our devotion to the Torah is based on the belief that every word in it is precious and holy.  If there were one thing I could wish for, it would be that all of our members who come to services on Yom Kippur would come back and dance with us on Simchas Torah.  This year, Simchas Torah is on Saturday, October 10, at 6:05 PM.  Please plan to attend our service.

The joy and happiness that we feel on Simchas Torah will help us as we go through the year.  We need to understand that Judaism is a philosophy of life that sees the world as “good”.  Enjoying life, celebrating life, and recognizing that we are truly fortunate to be alive is fundamental in Judaism.  And it is important for us as a congregation to feel the happiness of living as Jews.  When we come to the synagogue, it should be with enthusiasm and a genuine desire to serve G-d.  What could be more important to us?

Moreover, we should all be proud to be members of Congregation Agudas Achim.  Our congregation remains a stronghold of Jewish tradition.  Under difficult circumstances, we have maintained our commitment to Jewish life and practice.  It truly makes me happy to see those in attendance on Shabbos mornings.  I want to express my appreciation to Leon Gordon and Harry Morgenstern for serving as the Gabbais.  Their efforts make the service run smoothly and their knowledge of Jewish tradition helps insure that our congregation’s service is in accordance with traditional Jewish practice.  I also want to express appreciation to Dr. Ed Pritzker who has become an increasingly proficient Torah reader.  Reading the Torah portion out of the scroll is extremely difficult.  Where this busy physician gets the time to prepare the Torah reading each week is truly amazing to me.  Our entire congregation owes him a tremendous “thank you”.  I also want to thank Susan Gordon and Betya Katz for making the effort so that we have a Kiddush every week after services.

Of course, with the decline in the number of our members, it is increasingly difficult to have a daily minyan. And yet, the daily minyan continues.  Among all the things we do as a congregation, I still believe that maintaining the daily minyan is absolutely essential.  The fact that our congregation has been able to have a regular minyan is a prime example of our commitment and our steadfastness. I again urge all men who are able to make your own commitment to attending at least once a week.

Agudas Achim is an extended family.  Like all families, we do not all see eye to eye on everything.  As Jews, that would be impossible.  If there are nine Jews, there are at least ten opinions.  But I believe that when you come to services at Agudas Achim, you find that this is where you belong.  And that we are indeed one family.  Warmth and friendliness are an integral part of everything we do as a congregation.

I hope that Congregation Agudas Achim will go from strength to strength.  We need every single member in order to make this a viable congregation.  Your participation is essential to the continuance of Jewish life in Peoria.

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