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Looking for a question that will get a conversation going? 

Use one of the following questions to start a memorable and transformative conversation:

Questions that are about the individual:
  • Tell me a positive thing that happened to you this past week/month.
  • Something that you read or learned recently that energized you.
  • If you could go back to any age, which would you choose and why?
  • If you could have dinner with a deceased family member, who would it be and why?
  • Where did you grow up and what was it like to grow up there?
  • How did you come to be a part of the Temple and why?
  • What is one thing you are excited about right now and why?
  • What do you love most about your life and love sharing with others?
  • When you think about the impact Judaism has had on your life, how would you describe it?
  • What are the greatest opportunities we have to impact lives?
  • What is your greatest concern or worry in your life?
  • What brings you joy?  Peace? Equanimity?  Anxiety? 
  • What nourishes you in your life?
  • How do you spend time with your family?
  • What is a story from your life, the results of which has come to define who you are?
Questions that are Jewish Calendar related:
  •  As we begin to think about the New Year, what do you hope your Jewish community will gift you this year? What do you expect to gift back?
  • We start the Torah again this month and we reread the story in Genesis about the Creation story. Even though it is forbidden in the Talmud for Jews to speculate about the time before Creation, they do anyway, as they want to know the reasons that God decided to create the world. One understanding they propose is simple: God was lonely and the only cure was to be in relationship. We were made in God’s image (or we made God in our image) so we know that this is a fundamental need for humans as well – to know we are not alone. Please discuss as a group: When do we need each other? 
  • As the darkest part of the year is upon us, tell a story about something that brings light into your life?
  • In what ways do you connect to nature? How does it feed you?
  • Torah teaches: “V’ahavta l’re’echa kamocha,” love your neighbor as yourself. Share a story of when you’ve done this well in your life over the past few months. How was that experience for you? What did you learn about yourself and the other person?
  • Purim is about turning things in our lives on their head. What are some places in your life that you take very seriously? What are other parts that you hold more lightly? What would it look like to switch them every now and again? What kinds of joy might you discover?
  • Have you ever noticed that there are five questions in the 4 Questions during the Passover Seder? For some reason, our sages also made the first, most famous line, “Mah Nishtanah..”, into a question. But we know that Torah and our ancient texts didn’t have punctuation. The first question could really be a statement of delight, of noticing. How different this night is from all other nights!! Passover, in this light, comes to teach us about awareness and paying attention to the changes as our lives evolve and as we grow. In your daily life right now, share a story with your group about something you’ve noticed lately, something different than the norm. 
  • The month often corresponds with the Jewish holidays of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day), and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day). No matter your political views on Israel, we can all agree that these holidays orient us towards a deep awareness of our peoplehood – the idea that wherever Jews live, we are responsible to care for one another. Jews across the globe need each other. Share with your group about a time when you had a real sense of caring for/being cared for by the greater Jewish community, whether in Israel or abroad.
  • Soon, we’ll celebrate Shavuot, the moment when God gave the Jewish people the Torah at Mt. Sinai. This was the first moment of revelation, the decoding of the meaning of life and our role in this world. But many rabbis and Jewish scholars for thousands of years have argued that revelation may have begun there but did not end there. Revelation is continuous; we are privy to these messages in many moments throughout our lives. Tell a story of time when you felt that something important was revealed to you about your role in this world or the meaning of your life. How did it affect your relationships? Your job? Your down time? 
  • This Shabbat, we’ll read the often overlooked Parashat Balak. It comes in the summer, so it goes unstudied by many, and yet it’s an amazing story about a talking donkey that reprimands a priest who comes to curse the people of Israel. He is so moved by this miracle that he cannot but bless the people with the words you will know from our morning tefillot (prayers): “Mah tovu ohalecha Ya’akov. How lovely are your tents, O Jacob…” He sees the beauty in the people of Israel. Tell a story of a time when you were proud to be a Jew, and would have been prompted into singing Israel’s praises.
  • This month we commemorate Tisha B'Av, which remembers the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem so many years ago. What is a part of your life that you'd like to see destroyed? What is worth working to preserve or rebuild?
Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784