Chaverim Yekarim,

What does it mean to stand together as a community? For Jews, we have often expressed our solidarity through our stomachs. The community that blesses bread together stays together!

For the past couple of years, in addition to our festival feasts and monthly potlucks, we have had the wonderful tradition on Shabbat Evening of a Pre-Services Oneg (prenegin short.) Before we sit down to pray, we say kiddush and motzi, share a tasty treat, and schmooze together. It is a critical tradition, one that helps inspire us toward higher levels of community and prayer as we begin to unwind after a long week. It sustains us spiritually and fuels us physically.

But we need more folks to step up! It is not laborious or expensive. The preneg can consist of a couple drinks, and a few snacks. If each member unit (including the rabbi) stepped up, we could accomplish this task and maintain this honor weekly.

Of course, our Torah speaks to this very sentiment this week. We learn about the importance of mikra’ey kodesh, these fixed and holy times spread throughout our calendar cycle. Twice in this Torah portion of Emor, we hear about the importance of the seventh day, Shabbat, as a time of separating and elevating our behavior. If, during the previous six days of the week, we run from place to place with no time to share a meal or drink together, Shabbat teaches us otherwise. If, during the previous six days, we exist in bubbles and do not speak to our fellow human beings — those divine reflections around us at all times — Shabbat teaches us otherwise. We stop and we appreciate. We stop and we share.

But we cannot continue this essential minhag without your help. This shul is so beautiful and special, and we rely on you and your generosity to help ensure it remains that way. Please let me (or Janet Bonaventure) know if you can step up for one of these quickly-approaching dates (5/31, 6/14 and 6/21.) In addition to those dates, please let us know about future dates as well.