A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady: a Yom Kippur sermon

"A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady," a Yom Kippur sermon, Part 1 of 3

The text of a sermon given by Ray Frank on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Part 2 and part 3.

"A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady," a Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, Part 2 of 3

The text of a sermon given by Ray Frank on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Part 1 and part 3.
...against reform, the remainder stubborn for orthodoxy, that it would be a hopeless task to organize a permanent congregation. Think of it, ye Israelites, the "chosen of the earth," so divided as to how you will worship jehovah that ye forget to worship at all! You who have received divine protection through centuries of danger and oppression, you whom the prophets say are to survive for the grandest destiny of man, you to whom has been vouchesafed every blessing,––because you cannot agree as how you will do this or that, how you will say thank you, Almighty, therefore you do not say it at all. O, you intend saying it all in good time! There may be repentance at the eleventh hour, but who can say which hour may not be the eleventh one? This is the time for action--right now, and our solemn Yom Kippur is the right now of our existence.
Now is a most excellent time for you to consider the question. It is the time for you to decide whether you will effect a permanent organization or whether you will effect a permanent organization or whether you will continue to go on and hold only one or two services a year. There are here, I know, certain disagreements as to the form of worship, whether we should cling to the old orthodox style or take up the reform that has gradually been instituted in the Jewish church. This is a progressive age, and some of the customs of two or three thousand years ago will not do for to-day, and at the same time many customs which were good then are just as good now, and can be just as appropriately used. It would be well for you to throw aside all little disagreements and unite in the one cause--that of upholding the creed of our religion. Do not persuade yourself that coming to schule once or twice a year, or fasting for twenty-four hours, will make you a good Jew. Do not comfort yourself with the belief that God will, at the eleventh hour, accept your tithe, which you pay because you must. For three hundred and sixty-three days you are content to go your own way, doing as you please, piling up the coin of the United States, and congratulating yourself that your credit is good. You give never a thought to the One from whom all blessings come until reminded that Rosh Hashanah is here and Yom Kippur will follow. O, the growls that come because the store must remain closed for two days; perhaps you refuse to close at all! O, the shameful, ungrateful sneers and remarks by the too reformed to be good ones! Friends, you are making a mistake. For such as I have mentioned it would be better to keep that store open--the sin would not be so great.
Religion is not compulsory. God wants not grudgingly that which you give; keep it, you cannot be poorer than you are.
Whatever you do for religion, or whatever you give, must be voluntary and sincere. Coming here because your neighbor does is not religion; neither is it religion to give a certain amount because someone else has done the same. True religion is true repentance for our many sins and mistakes.
I have before me one of the most intelligent audiences of my people I have ever addressed. It would make the best congregation on the Pacific Coast. I can tell that by your faces, and the little that I have conversed with you. You have always said that in union there is strength, therefore it is necessary that you should unite, giving help to each other through the creed you all believe in. Drop all dissension about whether you should take off your hats during the service and other unimportant ceremonials, and join...

"A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady," a Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, Part 3 of 3

The text of a sermon given by Ray Frank on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Part 1 and part 2.
...hands in one glorious cause. We are all Israelites, and anxious to help one another. Look up to our creed and live up to it. It is not necessary to build a magnificent synagogue at once; that can be done in time. The grandest temples we have ever had or the world has ever known were those which had the blue sky for a roof, and the grandest psalms ever sung were those rendered under the blue vaults of heaven.
It is absolutely necessary for a man to be something. A cipher or a million of ciphers all count naught. One must have a fixed value or been looked up as a nothing. This holds as true in religion as in other things. Your neighbors of various creeds and denominations would as soon think of avowing themselves cannibals as of disavowing their religion. They have no respect for the man who is nothing; neither do they trust him. If you would stand well in the eye of the community, uphold your faith and teach your children the glory of perpetuating a grand old creed.
Form yourselves into a permanent congregation as soon as possible, and organize a Sabbath school. Unless one is established soon your children will grow up without any creed at all. One must believe in something, and one must have faith in something or become a menace to society. Keep one day holy, and teach your children to do the same. It isn't good for you to do as you are doing. We are no longer a nation of people, although we are often spoken of as such. We have no ruler, but are simply citizens of the country we live in. We are loyal to the civil rule that governs us, and we should be loyal to the religious rule that we all bow to.
Friends, I thank you for the patience with which you have listened to me, and in the name of all we Hebrews hold most dear, I ask you to be patient with each other. Drop all personal feeling in this matter, and meet each other half way over your differences; give each other a hearty handshake for the sake of the cause, and I prophesy Heaven will crown your efforts with peace and prosperity.
From to-night on resolve to be something.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady: a Yom Kippur sermon." (Viewed on June 5, 2023) <https://jwa.org/media/lay-sermon-by-young-lady-yom-kippur-sermon>.


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