This message was from Rabbi Daniel Schur, o.b.m.,
given at a celebration of an anniversary of the shul during the 90's.
Ours is a generation that has been blessed with the greatest material prosperity in the history of the world. If our grandfathers had one half of the good things that we have - how fortunate they would have been! And yet, who of us is already so far removed from them as not to remember the satisfaction which our forbearers found in their simple home-made foods. Much toil went into baking those Shabbos challas, the cholent and the gefilte fish, but how satisfying they were. What a holy atmosphere of fulfillment hovered over the Sabbath and Yom Tov meals. When our grandfathers ate their bread dipped in honey on Rosh Hashana, all the sweetness in the world was in that bite.
And we? - we eat the fat of the land. But are we satisfied? Our delicacies are brought from the farthest corners of the earth, but do they bring contentment and peace of mind? Our bodies eat - more and better food than ever before. But our souls are hungry.
The synagogue, too, is not what it once was. Synagogues have become institutions without reverence. In our Congregation, we have tried to resist the irreverent trend.
If we turn back the clock seventeen years and see what we have accomplished, we'll find we built a home of G-d for G-d. We have accommodated every organization that perpetuates the Torah way of life, and they inspire others to follow. We have strived hard to make our service inspiring. We have yet a long way to go. We attempted to teach our worshippers respect and reverence to the Shrine of G-d. We were the first shul, as such, to dedicate Shavuous night as a night of total Torah study. By now, others have followed suit.
Seventeen B'gematria (mathematically) is the Hebrew word for "Tov". In the last seventeen years we have accomplished much good, and with the help of the Creator we will continue, at least make attempts, to improve further. May we all merit the coming of the Messianic Era in our time.
Rabbi Dr. Daniel Schur
Return to Heights Jewish Center Home Page