Articles on being Jewish and alone

The following is an easy reference index of articles on this website which are specifically concerned with living a meaningful Jewish life if you are alone or far from community centres.

It is impossible to live a fully Jewish life without being  part of a Jewish  community.

The observance of so many of the mitzvos depends on having access to a community and there is a commanded need for one’s commitment in this to be both shared and public. If someone chooses solitude in Judaism for spiritual reasons  it can never be total.....and it can only be periodic.  It is never acceptable in Judaism to use solitude as an escape:   The Jewish practice of solitude as a spiritual discipline or way of life is simply an expression of  the relationship which all Jews have with God taken to a concentrated and intensified level- but it always exists within the  context of community membership, even if only in intention. It is something that is most usually practiced in periodic retreats, though in exceptional cases- Jewish solitary retreat has sometimes been an extended (though not permanent) spiritual practice.

Having said this, there are many Jews who are isolated by unavoidable circumstances and whose "solitude" is not something desired or chosen for  spiritual reasons.  They too can feel part of the Jewish Community with a little spiritual imagination!    

The first discussion of this topic  on this website was in the  Kuntres M'arat HaLev (The Cave of the Heart) written in 2005.

 You can find it on pages 16 to 25 and pages 28 and 29.
 You can read it by scrolling down to the relevant pages HERE.


The following are the  other essays on this website which enlarge on those thoughts

Alone on Shabbos?
There is a short reflection on the plight of isolated Jews with suggestions for how one’s isolation may be turned on its head at the end of the article “The Priestly Blessing”. It may be found HERE

Alone on Erev Shabbos?
The “Flaming Cherubim of Shabbat” is another article about making the Friday Shabbos meal a special time of spiritual communion for those who are unavoidably alone. You can read it HERE.

Alone during Jewish New Year?
An online shofar liturgy for Jews in isolation may be found in the article “Voice of the Shofar”. You can read it HERE.

At The Heart of Community (July 2008)
This article discusses spiritual community and the paradoxically communal aspects of living as a Jewish solitary. You can read it HERE.

Doing something about it
For  Jewish readers who are themselves living in isolation from Jewish Communities and centres who are looking for a form of community membership which transcends geography and might also like to take a look at  the article  Our Community which you can read HERE