Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
Look around our community. There you will find people who may appear different, but in reality, they are not, because each of them is distinctive in his or her own way. Some may speak with an accent that makes it hard to understand, and some wear clothing that seems bizarre. The truth is that while we may have different customs and traditions from the various areas of the country that was our home, we are all people who are now enjoying the fruits of our labors in an environment that gives us comfort and joy. This is Sun Lakes.
If we drive up and down Riggs Road, we will see edifices that have been erected for the purpose of gathering to offer thanksgiving to the One Who gave us life and helped us find this haven in the desert. There are churches, and clustered in a little chapel are more congregations and a synagogue dedicated to the betterment of our society through our involvement in the many activities that offer connection. If I were starting this community, I would have named this part of Riggs Road, “Brotherhood Boulevard.”
Over the years, we have witnessed an outpouring of brotherhood and feelings of solidarity, because while we may have different approaches to our understanding of God and how it is expressed, the one thing we all understand is that the path is not the important aspect of our connection to one another. The important part of our relationship deals with the destination.
The destination is the same for all of us: joining in acknowledging our obligation to honor the concept of Love and Faith and Harmony. How best to reach this destination? Joining our houses of worship so that we will always feel the inspiration of God Who is there to receive us and listen to our prayers.
As we enter our respective houses of worship, we immediately are reminded of history, and tradition, and faith. There is an unexplainable chill that runs through our veins, because we feel a sense of reverence and peace. Generations past have felt the very same thing, but I wonder if the generation that follows will also receive this feeling of love.
Now, more than ever, we have been reminded that while our houses of worship stand in all their grandeur, we could not enter for fear of a terrible scourge that may cause us all pain and sorrow. Now, more than ever, we have to realize that not being able to express ourselves in various rituals and traditions gave us a feeling of emptiness. We were like lost sheep looking for the shepherd to guide us and steer us ever closer to God.
Now, more than ever, we need to reinforce our desire to ensure that these facilities remain available for all to enter and marvel at the symbols erected to remind us that we are not alone in trying to find meaning and purpose in our lives. Now, more than ever, we need to continue to strive for human decency. Now, more than ever, we must remember that having faith includes faith in ourselves. We have the ability to overcome adversity in partnership with God.
When the call goes out to support these havens of relief and fulfillment, we must answer with all that we are able. This is our obligation, because most of all, these places of reverence teach us the most important lesson of all: that each of us has value.