One of my favorite Torah portions is the one we read this week (Behar-Bechukotai) because it reminds me of Philadelphia. Sounds strange I know. The classic, historic symbol associated with Philly is the Liberty Bell. Around the top of the bell a verse is inscribed: "Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land, to all the inhabitants thereof." That verse is from this week's Torah reading.
Every 50 years land would revert to it's original owner and slaves would be freed. To mark this freedom a shofar was blown on Yom Kippur. Our Founding Fathers took that message of release and transformed it to one of liberty and independence. As they fought for freedom from British tyranny they proclaimed their independence by ringing that Liberty Bell.
As I said at the congregation meeting last night, we too have the opportunity to proclaim our independence. We have been working tirelessly to build a building. We saw the excellent presentation and the beautiful design. We have been loyal and dedicated members and we have persisted in our hope and plans. We are a congregation that is supportive of one another and subscribes to our slogan, "One Community, One Heart, One Synagogue".
Let's hope and pray that we can blow that shofar on Yom Kippur 2010 in our new building in Olney!