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The Fifth Aliyah

The Fifth Aliyah on Yom Kippur Morning
Reflections from Rabbi Shapiro

I’m reflecting back on the fabulous aliyahs during the Yom Kippur Torah reading.

First, we had our High School students assemble on the bimah. Then came Sinai’s alumni – our kids from age 18 up to about 30. (Didn’t they look wonderful?) After that, some of their own parents came forward when I invited anyone who became a grandparent or anyone who had a child get married in either 2010 or 2011. (And just in case we might have wondered how some people got up there for that aliyah, Janet Weiss brought up one of her grandchildren. There was the little one front and center. Eyes wide. Taking it all in.)

The fourth aliyah was dedicated to our 80th anniversary as a congregation. Many, many people stood in their places if they had been members of Sinai for more than 40 years.

Finally, I asked forward those who had ever been in the armed services or were now in the reserves or on active duty. That’s when the bimah had no more room. Our veterans and those still serving spilled onto the bimah steps and sanctuary floor.

That is when you may remember I also stepped into the aisle of the sanctuary. I did so for one simple reason: I wanted to see what it all looked like.

I wanted to see the boys and girls, men and women, young and old, veteran Sinai members and those new to Sinai. I wanted to see and absorb the sight. I think it’s these kinds of moments that make memories. You could take a photograph to hold them in your mind’s eyes. Or you could take a picture with your heart so that you don’t lose the experience going forward.

I’m proud that we do our “group aliyahs” on Yom Kippur.

They affirm community, history, connection, childhood, adulthood, family, and the power of Jewish living.

May we all remember the aliyah moments of Yom Kippur. Sinai is 80 years old with many more great moments and memories to create!

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