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    The VIP in shule

    On Yom Kippur most synagogues are chock full. Everyone is there.

    Painting by Zalman Kleinman

    When you look around, as more or less everyone does, you possibly ask the question, “Who is really the most important person in the synagogue?”

    You can argue in favour of the rabbi, the cantor, the shammas, the president, the secretary, the caterer, the cleaner… and so the list goes on.

    Obviously there would be no synagogue without a congregation, so you could also argue that the most important person is any congregant you choose to nominate.

    Naturally the whole purpose of the shule is to acclaim the Creator, so the most important person (or rather, Being) is God.

    In my view, though, there is no such thing as the most important person. The whole shule population, not forgetting God Himself, is the entire team.

    In the same way that the tabernacle in the wilderness needed everybody – the architects, the artisans, the community leaders and the population as a whole, with everyone having their own special function in the operation of the sanctuary – so the modern synagogue needs everybody.

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