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Wondering: What About Sanctuary?

This week I am especially thinking about what it means to be a Jewish community, and what it means to have a sanctuary. It does not feel long ago, but it was in 2014, when we dedicated a newly renovated sanctuary. Almost everyone in the congregation (and some people who think of themselves as friends of the congregation) contributed to our sanctuary effort.

Usually when we think of our sanctuary, it means our "sacred space" where we go to find spiritual, holy experiences. Some people call it the "Chapel." Our tradition and our congregation think of the sanctuary as the place where we go for Shabbat, Holy Days, Life Cycle Events, Learning, visiting. 

Lately, I have been thinking about how "sanctuary" is also supposed to mean a "safe space." It is a welcoming place where we can feel totally comfortable and safe - especially about feeling Jewish, but also about finding a haven from the stress and scary things out in the world. 

Our recent concerns have turned it all upside-down: Being together - even in the sanctuary - can sometimes be less safe, for example, if it exposes people to COVID-19. Sometimes being in a sanctuary makes us a target, like it did this past weekend at a synagogue in Colleyville, TX (not so very far from us). 

I think that there are ways to make the sanctuary safer again. We can take the health precautions needed to protect each other (don't come if you have signs of illness; wear a mask; hopefully you can be vaccinated; sanitize your hands; visit by staying a safe distance from others). We can learn and practice what to do in dangerous situations (threats by people or by nature). Our congregation is working on ways to keep us safe - in the synagogue, and in the sanctuary.

This week I am wondering: What are your thoughts about the kinds of threats that keep people from being/feeling safe in the sanctuary? What suggestions do you have to deal with these situations? What do you do to feel safe in the sanctuary? What should we do to keep everyone safe in the sanctuary?

We continue to add ways to ensure that our sanctuary is a safe place - and a holy, spiritual, gathering place

Once again, I want to thank everyone who has responded to my  "Wonderings."  You are always welcome to respond to any of the questions I have asked by calling or emailing, no matter how long ago the question was originally posed. You can also choose to keep your replies totally private, and not be posted on the Responses page. I always try to remove personal / identifying details when I do post the replies. 

Go to Wonderings main page: CLICK HERE to see what answers I receive from our congregants. Check back periodically, because I continue to add replies when I get them.

To send me your thoughts about this Wondering or any of the previous ones, you are welcome to reply to this email, or call.


Wed, June 29 2022 30 Sivan 5782