These seven “circles” are seven aspects of a complete Jewish life. Within each of these circles, each of us will make our own unique and personal choices. While we strive to live in all circles, each of us will probably make different choices at different times in our own life. Moreover, though we will not intentionally ignore any of the seven circles, certain ones may speak to us more strongly than others, reflecting our individuality both as people and as a community.
How any one of us chooses to celebrate the Jewish festivals, or to pray, or to carry out acts of compassion, or to pursue life-long learning, may be radically different from many of our fellow congregants. But our shared commitment to living in some way in all seven circles will bind us to each other.
Why seven? It could just as easily have been five or six or ten. But since ancient times, seven has been the Jewish number of completeness. The seven days of the week and the seven years of the Sabbatical cycle are just two examples of the old Jewish association of seven with wholeness and holiness.
You will see that the seven circles form two triads, (one comprised of Rabbi Shimon the Righteous’ Three Pillars of Study, Prayer, and Acts of Compassion; and a second containing three levels of sacred time), and a final central circle of the Jewish People. Noticing these groupings, you may find that this booklet offers you a new way of thinking about the six-pointed Jewish star.