In the summer of 2010, my wife, Jessica, and I traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania to participate in their summer Yiddish program. (Jessica is a PhD candidate in Yiddish Studies at Columbia University.) There, I was able to explore face-to-face the remnants of a once thriving, luminary Jewish community. In this Yom Kippur sermon, I reflect on my experiences of Vilna, grapple with the immensity of what was lost, and consider what small Jewish communities today can learn from our Lithuanian cousins.
This Rosh Hashannah sermon explores the history and meaning of Jewish ethical legacies and living wills. It also sets up a time set aside during Yom Kippur for congregants to consider their own ethical legacies they'd want to leave behind.
“To be effective, the preacher's message must be alive; it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God's present voice to a particular people.”