MOTHER LODE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Updated June 1, 2015
From Rabbi Andra Greenwald
This month, we will welcome a new adult member to the Mother Lode Jewish Community. Oh, we've seen her around for years, but in a few
short weeks, Lena (her name used with permission) will become a Jewish adult and we will welcome her into the fold of all Jewish adults
worldwide. She will now count in a minyan (the ten Jewish adults required to say certain prayers and to take the Torah from the Ark) and she
will carry the torch of Judaism, along with many of us, into the next generation.
As Lena is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah—a daughter of the Commandment—she assumes all of the rights and responsibilities of an
adult in the Jewish world and of a member of the Tribe of Judah. But, what does it mean to be a member of the Tribe? Does it mean to eat as
our neighbors? To dress similarly? To celebrate holidays in the same ways as a majority of the Tribe's members? To learn a secret
Perhaps being a member of the Tribe means something totally different from these more external symbols. Maybe it means having a home
wherever there are other Jews--having a seat at the Shabbat table, at the Seder on Passover, at the shul when across the world. Maybe it
means being the product of 3,000 years of traditions and making these traditions our own. Perhaps it means being the different one—and
having the responsibility to show others that we're really not that different, after all. Maybe it means having to try harder, forgive deeper, stand
taller. And maybe it means all of these things—and more.
Our sage, Rabbi Hillel, once said, “Do not stray from your community,” and who would want to? We are a band who has stuck together through
thick and thin—through famine, persecution, attempts at genocide and the impossibility of finding kosher meat. And, we're still here.
Judaism is, truly, community. Each of us may worship uniquely, eat idiosyncratically and celebrate in unheard of ways. But, we are all linked by
one history and, perhaps, most importantly, by one future.