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Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills

Serving the Jewish Community of: Milton, Quincy, Boston, Hyde Park, Dorchester, Roslindale, Braintree & Surrounding Areas

A BRIEF JEWISH QUESTION FOR THE WEEK – Walk this Way, but then Go Back!


Walk this Way, but then Go Back!

This photo of the Arch of Titus, sent to us a few days ago from Deborah Felton and Robert Baylor, depicts Jewish slaves carrying items from the Second Temple as they were carted off to Rome.  The devastating loss of our central Jerusalem sanctuary did not mean the end of Jewish spiritual expression.   It just made creative adjustments possible.   The synagogue became the focal point of the Jewish community no matter where Jews found themselves.  A shift was made from sacrifice to prayer; from leadership by the Kohane to the Rabbi, from service on the altar to service of the heart.  I had mixed feelings the first time I saw that frieze up close; sadness for the defeat but pride that, unlike the Roman Empire, we are still very much around.  It used to be that once a year on the anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem, the Jews of Rome were forced to walk through that Arch as a reminder of Rome’s dominance.  As a result, it became Jewish tradition not to walk all the way through it….ever.  You walk in, but then out the way you came.  When it comes to walking the walk, history has taught us to have our own style.  Shabbat Shalom, RabbiB