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If you're creative, here's a perspective for you:

Back in the '60's there was a very grand building in New York, Pennsylvania Station - the OLD Penn Station - modeled after the Caracalla Baths of ancient Rome.  But in the '60's it had a very run-down look to it.  The red/brown stones were covered with soot and grime and it seemed very big and complex and overbearing and "out of date" and ugly. 

So someone got the bright idea to tear the building down and in its place to build that lovely structure you perhaps know, also called Penn Station - a truly hideous and undistinguished blob - blot - blight - on the urban landscape - (which, a few years later, they are now contemplating tearing down - and for good reason!)

Now we look at wonderful old photos of the old Penn Station and feel an incredible sense of loss that such a beautiful old building - utterly unique in the United States - and never to be built again, that's for sure - could have been TORN DOWN!  It's positively shocking.  Especially now that we commonly try to save beautiful old buildings - and renovate and refurbish them and find suitable uses for them so that their beauty and historical qualities stay with us.  Now it seems so BACKWARD when people don't recognize the beauty of an old building and want to tear it down.  We think, how primitive - how ignorant - how crude and thoughtless...

Yes - and this is how we may feel some day when we look back on Judaism and wonder - how did we ever let something so WONDERFUL slip past us?!  How COULD we have DEVALUED something so fine to the extent that we ignored it and treated it with contempt and abuse? 

Now, when you have an old rundown neighborhood with fine old buildings that are beaten up and run down and have been ignored and neglected and perhaps lie in disrepair - who comes along and STARTS the process of renovation? 

Artists and writers of course - because they're the ones who have the sensitivity and the sensibility - and the lack of riches - to see the value in these rundown old neighborhoods.  Once they set to work and start fixing things up - next thing you know, the neighborhood is pretty hot - pretty pricey - right?  Think Soho and Hoboken - and these days - Harlem - right?

Well - guess who was showing up at my Orthodox synagogue in New York in the deserted, run-down industrial, neglected west 20's (in Manhattan) during the '90's? 

Yup - Artists and writers.  Why? - Because first of all some of them had lofts nearby so they were in the neighborhood and secondly because they had the sensitivity and sensibility to KNOW A GOOD THING WHEN THEY SAW IT!  They KNEW to VALUE their Judaism because they SAW what there is to VALUE in it!  They SAW the beauty - the depth - the poetry in their ancient religion and they SAVORED it - and valued it - and engaged in it by coming  regularly to the shul.  (Eventually the shul fell apart because the industry it was attached to lost the last generation of Jews to support the shul - to old age, death and Florida, etc.  It was very sad indeed...)

But the lesson to extract from this is - FOLLOW THE ARTISTS AND WRITERS if you want to know where the next neglected goodie is that's going to become VERY VALUABLE.

And I can tell you that so far as I can see artists and writers are showing up more and more in the synagogue - because they KNOW something WONDERFUL is happening there - something with beauty and depth and poetry to it - they can see it - feel it - savor it - and YOU CAN TOO! - if you show up, check it out, experience what it has to offer....

  Time for a cookie! - All Kosher - (OU/D) - Yum!... 

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SHALOM! WELCOME! (HOME)  |  SPONSOR A KEHILLAH AD!  |  OUR MISSION - OUR PLAN  |  NON-DENOMINATIONAL?  |  THE DEVALUATION OF JUDAISM  |  SHOP KEHILLAH! BOUTIQUE  |  18 REASONS WHY IT'S GREAT TO BE JEWISH  |  18 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR JUDAISM  |  THE ONE JEWISH RITUAL FOR YOUR FAMILY...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SHABBAT?  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - FRIDAY NIGHT  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - SATURDAY  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SYNAGOGUE?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT READING HEBREW?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ISRAEL?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MARRYING JEWISH?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ORGANIZED RELIGION?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT "ANCIENT"...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PRESERVING JUDAISM?  |  NOT A BELIEVER?  |  THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING JEWISH  |  YOUR OBJECTIONS - THINGS YOU HATE!  |  ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT?  |  ARE YOU CREATIVE?  |  ARE YOU "MIXED?"  |  SMALL PLEASURES...  |  GOOD STORIES  |  THE "WOMAN" ISSUE  |  OUR BOLD RADICAL PROPOSAL...  |  ADVERTISE TO EDUCATE!  |  OUR PRO-JUDAISM AD CAMPAIGN  |  KEHILLAH RADIO & TV  |  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR JUDAISM...  |  JEW VS. JEW  |  PASSOVER - ONE THING YOU CAN DO...  |  Shrek on Judaism!  |  Mel Brooks - On Being a Jew  |  Kirk Douglas: Why Be Jewish?  |  Rabbi Harold Kushner  |  Joe McCain on The Jews & Israel  |  American Presidents and The Jews  |  KEHILLAH is dedicated to...  |  LINKS TO Jewish Organizations, Charities & Websites  |  CONVERSION TO JUDAISM  |  GILLIE'S RECIPES  |  JEWISH HUMOR  |  NY TIMES: BRING BACK SHABBAT! PERSONAL STORY...  |  DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?  |  Contact Information  |  YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!  |  TO HELP SUPPORT KEHILLAH

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