The Dream of Cool Shul (and the LA Rams)

Who’s house???!…. Rams house!!!!

Who’s house???!……Rams house!!!!

The arena was so loud you would have thought it was the playoffs and not a pre-season football game, but we Los Angelinos are just so excited about having a football team again, we can’t contain ourselves. 🙂

My family and I were right there in the middle of the football madness screaming with the rest. I’ve never really been much of a football fan, but even I can’t help but get caught up in the atmosphere. It’s more than football. It pride in our city and her history. It’s knowing that while Los Angeles is much about Hollywood and fame, it can also be about a stadium built in 1923 and an L.A. team of the toughest sport around that reaches back to 1946.  Sitting in the Memorial Coliseum hollering for the Rams allows us to live for a moment in the nostalgia of a Los Angeles time gone by.   It’s also an opportunity to be there from the start, supporting something that just might be big and dreaming as a community.

My life is wrapped up in dreaming with a community these days. I don’t think my dream will ever touch even a fraction of the numbers I sat with at the Coliseum, but I’m dreaming none the less.

You see, Cool Shul (as a blog) began because a friend (whom I lovingly call my Temple Mom) encouraged me to write more. So I wrote and shared what I have come to learn in my off-the-beaten-path Jewish life… that Judaism doesn’t have to be about laws or dogma or guilt or pressure, but be a glorious guide that helps us live more joyous, peaceful, productive lives. Originally, my blog had the subheading “For the Liturgic Allergic” (a term invented by that Temple Mom) because it focused on the nougat centers of Jewish practice and traditions and texts that allow the universal themes buried in Judaism to shine through, with or without the rules, with or without a belief in God.  In other words, no need to love the structure of religion to love these Jewish lesson.

When I left my last position to go to Rabbinical school with JSLI and join the Jewish Universalist movement, Cool Shul began to evolve. It wasn’t just a blog anymore, but a new community that held to the same principles as the original writings. At first we tip-toed into being… We held Holy Days services, Shabbat once per month, and taught a few kids.  But within the year there was a full educational program, a gorgeous Seder, a book club, and bar-mitzvahs. And so we began to dream…

What if we broke the mold of synagogue? What if we were more like a community center? After all, Not everyone demonstrates their Judaism through prayer… Some prefer Jewish dance or cooking or art or music or Hebrew language or yoga or meditation. What if we could offer all of that? What if we provide ways to connect to Judaism in one’s own way on one’s own terms in one’s own time without asking anyone to fit into a mold of who or what someone should be to be Jewish?

And that’s where the dream comes in.

That’s where you come in.

Our organization runs on a small budget compared to most, but we still have rent and the website and salaries and supplies and… dreams.

We cannot and will not survive or thrive without the support of those who value our words, our work, our celebrations, our music, and our educational activities. In other words, we can’t do it without you.

Please consider becoming a partner in our dreams and share in the excitement of all that Cool Shul is and all it could be by offering a monthly, tax-deductible donation.  Below is the letter from our president inviting you to partner with us as well as links to our partnership form and our donation page.

Thank you for your eyes, ears, and hearts, and I hope to see some of you locals at our next Shabbat on September 9.

Rabbi/Cantor/”Rantor” Diane  🙂

A Message from Cool Shul’s President

Link to our Partnership Form

Link to our PayPal donate button

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