Every year my synagogue, the Park Slope Jewish Center, has two Kol Nidre Services on Erev Yom Kippur. The main service is held upstairs and is attended by members and those who bought tickets. But a few of our members give of their time and effort (and miss the main service) every year in order to give an opportunity to anyone who shows up to hear Kol Nidre in our lower sanctuary. It's a lovely thing they do. I'd never been to the downstairs service, but this year I was asked to give the Dvar for it. I've been referring to it as the Not Ready for Prime Time Dvar.
I went through my usual routine when asked to write something or speak somewhere. First I was flattered to be asked and agreed happily. Then I gave some thought to what I wanted to talk about and did some research. Then, as it approached, I cursed myself and the person who asked me and kept repeating my mantra: Why do I get myself into these things? By Wednesday (i.e. two days before) I'd done a lot of research and had an idea of what I wanted to say, but still hadn't written a word. A friend asked me to read and offer suggestions on his
Yom Kippur speech (he's President of his Temple) and as I was doing it I kept saying to myself "I really should be writing mine." Anyway, I got it done in time; it was very well received; I'm back to being glad I accepted.
I decided to speak about Kol Nidre - what its appeal is to Jews of all stripes - and about Jewish community, and try to tie those two topics together. It's, of course, better when spoken, since the delivery is part of it. But for anyone who's interested in reading it, here it is:( Here it isCollapse )