Monday, July 11, 2016


It has been less than one month since I joined Temple Emanu-El. So, I do not have very much experience going to temple!

The temple's rabbi is off on a trip to Israel for several weeks. Two rabbis have filled in during the absence. One of these two rabbis really impressed me! He is Rabbi Marty Lawson.

I attended my first Torah Study class under the guidance of Rabbi Lawson. Torah study is a forum where members of the temple come together to examine the Five Books of Moses. I was very surprised to find that torah study with Rabbi Lawson is very exciting!

After Torah study class, came the Shabbat [sabbath] Service.

A good Jew
During the Shabbat Service, Rabbi Lawson described one of the characteristics of a "good Jew." Rabbi Lawson described this good Jew as:

"A person who actively participates in civic and community affairs." 

This participation would include communicating with our political leaders when things are not going well. For example; "When a pot hole in a neighborhood street needs repair to when the President of the United States breaks the law of our Constitution."

Pissed me off!
I have to admit to you that Rabbi Lawson pissed me off with his "Good Jew" admonition. Because he nailed me! :(

In recent years I had taken to not writing letters as I used to do. What good do these protests of mine do?, I asked myself. Nobody in government really listens. Some secretary likely answers my letters.

Googled Rabbi Lawson
I wanted to find out who this Rabbi Lawson guy was? It turned out that he became a rabbi at Emanu-El in 1976! That was 40 years ago! When I read that, Rabbi Lawson's admonition took on real meaning to me.

I am guessing that one of the things that a rabbi is supposed to do, is to kick a Jew back into line again. Even if "pissing off" is necessary.

Rabbi Marty Lawson



  1. Hi George!
    I don't think the "lesson" was about "potholes and letters"...It's about saying something when you see something wrong. Too many people have been silenced and couldn't speak. As an American you can speak when others still can't.

    Love seeing you post about you "new" experiences!

  2. We all have a moral imperative to speak out and civil imperative to maintain our society.

  3. Good post, George!
    I agree with your previous 2 commenters - we should all be "good Jews" ... Even if we are Catholic, Muslim or whatever faith we subscribe to. As members of the community of Man we do have a moral obligation to watch out for each other.

  4. Most religions steer clear of politics and public participation. I am happy to hear that your rabbi has given excellent advice. I see a clear relationship between my religion and state. That's why things never work out, they two should go together.