12/13 March 2021, 28/29 Adar 5781

I could talk Royal family this week, Harry, Meghan and Oprah but I won’t.

At least not yet.

Instead I’ll say a census is coming this year. 2021 we will be counted in the U.K.
We know a thing or two about being counted as well as counting ourselves in. This week’s double portion Vayakhel-Pekudei, the last in Exodus, refers to the Census just completed and the 603,550 souls that were included from aged twenty up. At the end of a year of this pandemic sitting so squarely within our lives, we have never before been so dependant on and grateful for data. This data has enabled and informed so many of our decisions and I for one, have find a new found appreciation for counting and record keeping.

We find ourselves in our community truly thinking about our membership right now, at the end of a year when online activity has expanded engagement. Our Chair convened a new Membership team to consider our reach and our remit as a synagogue, who we appeal to and who in fact chooses to be counted amongst us. How do we best sell ourselves as a congregation? What do we do well? What would you like us to do more of? Who could benefit from our services who is not already?

These are ways I consider counting and being counted within FPS. The leitmotif of Jewish experience and community is based heavily on the living in, and leaving Egypt, being a stranger once and the responsibility it places on us now. This will be even more present for us in the coming weeks of our festival year. Similarly, understanding us within Progressive Judaism’s place in Israel is part of that, note our conversation this Thursday with the Embassy.

But most importantly being at home is key to being counted, to contributing to our congregation and being known by it as well. Hard to imagine but Moses had to stop the gifts and the voluntary work offered; he was overwhelmed ‘No man or woman shall do any more work for the offering of the Sanctuary’ (Shemot 36:6).

These are not rhetorical questions! So I so look forward to hearing from you.
Shabbat Shalom to all and see you later?