As the NYT reporter commented to the Talmud professor, the story of Judaism is a trans-generational conversation. For 3000 years our ancestors sacrificed everything to pass on their faith and tradition to their children. No force on earth was ever able to break the link.
But the great conversation that began at the dawn of our history is in danger of going silent in many a Jewish home. We’ve made it as Americans—we don’t just enjoy bagels and lox with a glass of seltzer any more. We prefer croissants, an omelet with Swiss goat cheese, and a latte. We understand the ways of this country; but we’ve become immigrants to Judaism.
What then is the secret to carrying on this centuries-long conversation? One man still lives with the inspiration this secret impressed upon him when a rabbi warmed up a cold night; while another learned it when his father gave him a cold winter. It brought hope to Rabbi Lau and his brother in a Nazi concentration camp, and it is intimated brilliantly by a Talmudic argument about what grandparents most crave.
Ironically, the same thing that lead Jewish immigrants to assimilate into American society can lead their grandchildren back into the Jewish community. This Rosh Hashanah let your community embrace the secret and be inspired to perpetuate the conversation.
Dedicated in the merit of Binyomin Zev ben Tziviya Hinda for a complete and speedy recovery