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Rabbis Make House Calls

by Rabbi Matt October 31, 2014

Please allow me to revisit some of the Yom Kippur sermon. Rabbis make house calls. Quite often, we do not wait around for people to come to us, we go out to find them. Sometimes it’s a place of work… a house… the hospital… rehab… a senior living facility… out to eat… or at the 100 hole Golf Marathon tutoring Bnai Mitzvah students… or discussing a family matter at a neutral location… or at the cemetery… shiva… or volunteering at the St. Aloysius Hunger Center.

My father-in-law is a retired internist. He was in a private practice for 50 years, and he made house calls. My father is a retired rabbi and he made house calls for decades. As your rabbi, I make house calls, and sometimes my father joins me in the mitzvah. I try to visit people and be in touch with them. If I have not been in touch with you often enough, I am sorry, please forgive me. Give me a reminder phone call, I will get right back to you.

Whom else makes house calls? Many people, whom I hold in high regard. Electricians… home health care workers… computer geeks… people who volunteer for programs like Meals On Wheels… plumbers… heating and air conditioning technicians… firemen… police… EMS… social workers… tutors… handy men… and many more.

Today, I ask YOU to make more frequent house calls. If you are in a line of work which requires you to make house calls, you are already in the habit. If you are not in the habit of making house calls, TODAY is the best time to begin. Visit people in need of your company, your touch, your voice, your learning, your wisdom, your sense of humor, your prayers. Do not visit expecting them to be extremely grateful, visit them because it is helpful… and because it is the right thing to do. Some of them will be extremely grateful, others… not so much, however, you will know you did the right thing. And… you will feel a little sense of satisfaction and fulfillment knowing you extended yourself to help another person.

In terms of your temple… your synagogue… your congregation… your Jewish community… please, make more frequent house calls HERE, in the Lord’s House. You are not just a number at Temple Israel Ner Tamid. You are a person. You are needed, and appreciated, and valued as someone who walks through the doors and into our house.

Make A House Call on Friday evening, December 19. Come to the Chanukah Family Service as we kindle the 4th Chanukah light and express gratitude for God’s light of religious freedom. See the flyer in this Temple IsraeLight for noshing details, dreidels and gelt, Manny Sperling’s magic, Chanukah Tzedakah of unwrapped gifts for children in the Jewish Family Service Association (JFSA) programs, and of course, making PB&J sandwiches. I am looking for 9 Olive Oil Sponsors, at $108 a piece, to help make our celebration possible.

As we approach the first light of Chanukah, which begins Tuesday evening, December 16, let us remember the lights of Chanukah are symbols of joy. In a time of darkness, our ancestors had the courage to struggle for freedom: freedom to be themselves, freedom to worship in their own way. Let the Chanukah lights we kindle shine forth for the world. May they illumine our lives and fill us with gratitude that our faith and people have been saved from extinction, time and again.

All the best to you, and yours. Shalom.

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