Creating Sacred Space

Two very different models, two very different outcomes, one very important lesson.

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The prayer is a marvelous instance of the manner in which the synagogue contributes to the formation of social capital. The liturgy turns values into prayers which function as an instrument of public education. Behavior we deem worthy of God's favor should become a goal for our own lives.

The boundless organizational vitality of the American Jewish community springs from this same spirit of voluntarism. While the endless details of the building of the Tabernacle may drive us to distraction, we should not lose sight of the selfless ethos that drove the project to completion. Salvation in Judaism is about losing ourselves in the welfare of the whole and making a difference in the lives of others.

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Rabbi Ismar Schorsch

Rabbi Ismar Schorsch served as chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.