"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...

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. ""A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady," a Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, Part 2 of 3." (Viewed on October 5, 2022) <https://jwa.org/media/lay-sermon-by-young-lady-yom-kippur-sermon-1>.


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