My kids say that it is boring to be Jewish. They went crazy after hours in shul on Yom Kippur and say they don't want to go back next year. We told them that we only go once a year, and it is important. How can I inspire them to go to shul again?
Of all the days on the Jewish calendar, it seems the most unlikely pick. The service is at least ten times longer than usual - it takes all day. The atmosphere is far more serious and sombre than ever - we spend the whole time confessing our sins and begging for forgiveness. And the food is the worst served at any Jewish gathering - none.
I would suggest choosing another day for your once a year shul appearance - Simchas Torah. The prayers are relatively short. We don't even wait until the service is over to bring out the food. Most of the time is spent eating, drinking and dancing. The focus of the day is celebrating, basking in the joy of just being Jewish.
Kids love it. And adults do too, because on this day the purest essence of the soul is revealed, that part of us that equalises young and old, learned and ignorant, sinful and saintly.
The truth is Yom Kippur and Simchas Torah are two steps in one spiritual process. On Yom Kippur, through fasting and inner repentance, we rid ourselves of the negative past. On Simchas Torah, through dancing and celebrating, we draw down the blessings for a promising future. The deeper your cleansing was on Yom Kippur, the more profound will be your joy on Simchas Torah.
Don't make the all too common mistake of showing your kids the heavy side of Judaism while robbing them of the experience of Jewish joy. A Jew who knows Yom Kippur but hasn't seen Simchas Torah is a Jew who has seen the soul cry but hasn't seen the soul dance. We have cried enough. It is time to celebrate.
We will be concluding the month of festivals with a celebratory lunch in shul this Shabbos, October 2. At this lunch we will be honouring our three grooms of Simchas Torah:
Moshe David - Chosson Torah, the last call-up of the entire Torah
Saul Creighton - Chosson Bereishis, the first call-up of the new cycle of the Torah
Rabbi Moss - Chosson Maftir, the last call-up of the holidays
All three honours were bought anonymously and the above three people were chosen to receive them. It is a great blessing both for those who purchase and those who receive these special aliyos to the Torah. Please come to celebrate with them this Shabbos. Book now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9363 5543 before 11am on Wednesday.
All services at Nefesh, 54 Roscoe St Bondi Beach
Hoshana RabbaWednesday Sep 29
Morning Service 8am (Hoshanos will be available in shul)
Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah:
Remember to make an Eruv Tavshilin
Wednesday September 29,
Candle lighting 5:37pm, Mincha 5:45pm, Yomtov Evening service 6:30pm with Kiddush and dancing
Thursday September 30, service 10am, Yizkor 11:30am, followed by Kiddush Candle lighting not before 6:33pm, Mincha 5:45pm
Simchas Torah evening service, big Kiddush and dancing with the Torah 6:30pm till late, followed by dinner at home of Rabbi and Nechama Dina Moss
Friday October 1, Simchas Torah service 10am, Kiddush, dancing with the Torah,
Candle lighting 5:39pm, Mincha 5:45pm, Shabbos evening service 6:30pm
Shabbos day October 2, Morning service 10am followed by Festive Lunch, $20 per person, $10 per child, $60 per family, to book email email@example.com by Monday September 27
Mincha 5:30pm followed by special Sholosh Seudos to end the month of Tishrei and Maariv