We’ve written several times about August. To us it is the most important Jewish month.
It is when the Jewish community and each of its parts decides. It’s when people begin to stir from their summer respite. When rabbis put down their summer reading and crystallize those long held thoughts on their coming sermons. And it is when every household, every person, every family unit plans. When commitments are reaffirmed or other roads taken.
The cycle begins in August. Every family, every individual, shapes the degree of its involvement in the Jewish community. For some it is just a matter of inertia. They do the same. But to others, small adjustments and decisions in August loom large through the year and beyond.
A child comes of age: Sunday school. Pre-School. Mitzvah planning. Older children, with those milestones behind them, have other plans to make, some close to the community and others far away.
To visit Hillel or not. To keep learning or not. And, in each family, to join again or not. To continue as part of the long chain of communal relationships or to go another way. To seek another alternative within the community or to strengthen an existing one. To ignore what one paid attention to before or to seek out that new thing. To be more Jewish or less. To serve on that committee or to pursue another interest. To chair that event or not participate at all.
To send the kids to this school or that. To be more active or less. And the one that continues throughout the year: how much to give and what to defer.
These are all big decisions for everyone making them and cumulatively for the institutions they affect. They are material decisions for the whole community. And they are all weighed in every Jewish home.
We plan. We think. We feel. It’s August. And then comes September.