Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Director of the OU’s WINGS (We Inspire New Growth Synagogues) program and Rav of the thriving West Side Institutional Synagogue (WSIS) in Manhattan, will be leaving his shul in June after six years to return to his home town of Los Angeles. As a form of going away present, he is asking his colleagues, and people all over the world through his newly constructed website, www.socialsermon.com, to combine with him to write a sermon.
He writes, “As many of you know, sadly this my last year at WSIS. I sat down and tried to think of a way to commemorate it in a manner that will involve everyone…Therefore, I think that it’s time to let you (his congregation and others) be an active part of what I enjoy so much: creating sermons. And this is why I want to create a sermon with you.”
Rabbi Einhorn asks people to send him “ideas for divrei Torah, opening jokes, moving stories (he means moving in the emotional sense, not about moving to Los Angeles), content, style, etc.” Then, he says, “people all over the world” will be asked to vote for their favorites. He adds, “I will take the best and put them together in an organized and powerful sermon that I will deliver in WSIS on a specific Shabbat, to be determined.” He concludes, “My friends, this has never been done before.”
As Director of WINGS, Rabbi Einhorn is well aware that what works for one synagogue can work for many. As a result, he is calling on congregants everywhere to visit his website, and to submit material for the social sermon. Of course, if other rabbis adapt the project for their own congregations, it will serve as a means of bringing the membership closer together and of letting people who may fantasize about being a rabbi, actually work on a sermon.
In the spring, Rabbi Einhorn will deliver his composite sermon at WSIS on a Shabbat, then tape it before a live OU audience the following week, to be posted on the website and to appear in Shabbat Shalom. He urges submissions of a general nature, not tied to one specific parsha, so that they can be included in a sermon any Shabbat of the year.
Deadline for submitting material is December 13, 2011.
Rabbi Einhorn says, “Good luck, and let’s see what you can come up with.”
“Rabbi walks into a shul…”