In my last month as the rabbi of Temple Sinai, Reno, I am officiating a number of b’nei mitzvah and conversions – life cycle events that open the door to Jewish engagement and commitment. One question often comes up in preparing for both events is what it means to become obligated in the commandments. What does it mean to be responsible for carrying out all the commandments as part of the covenant of the Jewish people, and also to make informed choices about one’s Jewish practice as a Reform Jew? Are we any “less commanded” than other Jews to carry out the mitzvot (commandments) of our tradition?

The commandment of the tzitzit, given in this week’s Torah portion, Sh’lach, calls us to remember all of God’s commands AND perform them. (Num. 15:39) Reform Judaism provides more room for choice than Orthodox or Conservative streams, but must also be a religion of action. Remembering is not itself enough. We must also do.

Join us next Friday night for Shabbat Unplugged! as we celebrate the conversion of Jessica Younger next week – after five years of study and living as a Jew and member of Temple Sinai. We look forward to showing up and celebrating in community. May we each continue to struggle with what it means to be responsible to God and community through the covenantal obligations of our tradition.

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Bair