Congregation Sulam Yaakov

Please note: Due to COVID-19, all services and programs are being held via Zoom. Please email info@sulamyaakov.org for log in information.

Congregation Sulam Yaakov is an egalitarian Conservative Synagogue, a passionate Jewish community that inspires spirituality, and promotes social responsibility and action. Music is always an integral part of services and helps to lift the soul and the spirit. All are welcome to attend services, including the High Holidays.

About Us: Our approach to prayer and community concentrates on joy and learning and inclusivity, all within the framework of Conservative Judaism. Read more…

Services: Join us for Shabbat services at 9:30am for a joyful, uplifting synagogue experience. Read more…

 

The Living Archive Project

In a few days, a prominent rabbi and the head of a distinguished seminary will debate how religion and the world will change after the plague. In a gesture of absolute chutzpah, I will tell you the answer now: very little. Aristotle was right in calling us “habitual animals.” Humans establish a sense of security and comfort through habits. Routine is the path to a sense of security. As the plague subsides, we will immediately return to our prior lives. Some rabbis fear that the Zoom video will replace the sanctuary. That’s a tremendous misunderstanding of human nature. The convenience of Zoom cannot replace a hug, looking directly at one another’s eyes, listening to live voices, and sitting at kiddush to just chat and enjoy our lox and challah. Yes, some Zoom will remain, but mainly as a secondary method. Just imagine being able to speak without having to unmute yourself!

Unfortunately, the ugly will also reappear. The most disgusting stores will continue selling anything that flies, swims, or walks. Our meatpacking plants will remain a bloody horror show. It will take just one wrong chicken to resist the ton of pumped in antibiotics, and overnight we will become the greatest exporter of death to the world. Once again, the world, in disbelief, will claim: “But we did not know!”

Freud and his followers discovered that the mind is immensely self-protective. The psyche relegates trauma to the recesses of the mind. Humanity, likewise, will suppress the memory of the plague, looking to move ahead at the speed of light to regain the time and money lost. Your mind, and its defense mechanisms, will also forget. In his Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury imagines a future in which books are illegal. A group of intellectual warriors commits itself to save humanity’s literature by learning the books by heart. Similarly, you are a “living archive” of this virus experience. You must keep a mental or written diary, and make a specific effort to retain what you felt and experienced during this trial. Your experience is a vital record in a world that forgets. Philo, the great Jewish philosopher of first-century Alexandria, taught, “It is well in wealth to remember your poverty; in distinction, your insignificance…in peace, the dangers of war; on land, the storms of the sea; in cities, the life of loneliness.” Our tradition has survived by the power of its narrative. All will be repeated, unless people own the story.

Each one of us is a living human archive. Remember!

Please contact me with questions or comments at aborodowski@gmail.com or 914-420-5639. L’shalom, Rabbi Alfredo

For archive of Torah Express posts, click here

 

Kabbalat Shabbat: Friday night services, followed by kiddush or dinner, as scheduled throughout the year. Read more…

Adult Education: We are committed to presenting meaningful opportunities for adults to continue exploring the breadth and depth of Judaism and to furthering our moral and spiritual growth. Read more…

The Sulam Learning Academy meets on Monday evenings from 7-9:15pm

You may attend one or both workshops. Please email Rabbi Alfredo for more information at aborodowski@gmail.com.

Social Action: Our social action programs fulfill our obligation to help the larger community in which we live through acts of loving kindness. Read more…

Upcoming Events

No Events