When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, our sages moved from sacrifice to prayer and from a centralised place of worship to many places. Wherever Jews went, they built synagogues or adapted already existing buildings for services.
On the last Saturday of April, we found our usual place of worship had an extra lock to which we did not have the key. What did we do? We went to our Chair’s home and set up shul in the garden, moving garden furniture around, bringing more chairs from the house out into the garden and laying a cloth on the table. As luck would have it, we had a scroll with us, since the Chair’s wife had the day before found the place for the weekly reading.
The weather was favourable and everything went well, including the kiddush lunch after the service. One of the congregation said it was the the most spiritual service she had ever attended, while another, new member, commented afterwards, “This is the first service I’d atttended and perhaps the garden location will be the first of many. It was magical.”
Even so, we do hope to be back in our normal location this month.