As the kehilah davened this past Shabbat, there were so many times that I wished that one could use a camera on the Sabbath. Through the opening in the mechitza, my eyes would often come to rest on sights that were almost too joyous to put into words - glimpses of humanity that strike deep into the soul.

An elderly man, 70-something, seated beside his adult son, lovingly massaging his son's back and neck, a look of deep concern upon his face. His son was obviously weighed down under some burden of care. This warm paternal act of affection continued for some time, the heads of father and son tilted together, their souls embracing a common challenge, their bodies gently rocking with the pace of davening.

The chazzan who led the kehilah in the Shacharit prayers, once his service leading the davening was complete, donned a new garment under the wings of his tallit - an infant sling, actually a double infant sling, into which were tucked his two adorable twins, each hugging a side of their father's torso, close to his heart, their soft brown curls waving as their Abba davened. Abba's tallit blanketed the precious bundles while his older children formed a semi-circle around him, some davening, some simply 'being'.

Another of our chazzanim, who had led an earlier part of the morning service, had done so in tandem with his young son, perhaps 10 years old, who had stood devotedly to his father's left, absorbed in the act of sacred service his Abba was performing.

Earlier in the week, on the first Yom Tov of Sukkot, our rabbi delivered a D'var Torah while one of his daughters, her head crowned with a tumbling cascade of curls inherited from her Abba, sat cross-legged and content at her father's feet, squarely under the bimah. In her own makeshift dwelling, she had a look of complete contentment gracing her pretty countenance.

Then, there was the Kabbalat Shabbat preceding Sukkot, when spontaneous dancing broke out in the men's court during the singing of Tehillim 29. A friend's husband had danced with such joy, with his young daughter tucked under his right arm, her legs wrapped around her father's torso, one hand clenching his tie with great determination, her blonde curls bobbing as the circle of dancing men rejoiced in the incoming Shabbat. The Shabbat simcha of this father-daughter duo spread like wildfire throughout the shul, igniting the kavanah of our davening.

Within the sanctuary of the synagogue are such astounding blessings if one but gazes about to appreciate the beauty and the kedushah into which one has entered. The family is the foundation of community in Judaism. Children weave themselves in and out of the synagogue prayer services, flowing freely between the men and women's courts, alternating between Abba and Ima. Where else but within Judaism does one find such integration of family into worship?

In other religions, the 'proper' code of conduct dictates that children are firmly controlled. In Christianity, they sit stoically beside their parents, lined up on pews or whisked away into nursery and children's rooms where they are neither seen nor heard during the "adult" portions of services. This is not to say that there are not times when children need to be curtailed in shul to respect the sanctity of prayer - especially during the Shemoneh Esrei - but the acceptance and integration of children into synagogue services is an aspect of worship quite unique to Judaism. It is both a blessing and a responsibility - the responsibility of the parents to imbue their children from birth onward with love and respect for Torah and for prayer.

After the Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv services this past Shabbat, I joined friends in their sukkah for dinner. The table abounded in young people from ages 12 to 20-something. My friends' 12-year old daughter Nina spontaneously delivered two sparkling Divrei Torah during the course of the evening, her discourses inspired by her father's invitation to the Ushpizin to join us in the sukkah. The yeshiva students ringing one end of the table engaged us in a lively debate concerning the Lost Tribes of Israel, as their grandfather stoked the flame of discussion by sharing discoveries he himself has made over the past two years. Such are some of the simple but intense joys of Shabbat.

Then, on Shabbat afternoon, returning home from sharing the noon meal with a close friend, I settled into a chair to read Kohelet. My reading was soon to be accompanied by an upbeat concert rising to the heavens through the s'khakh of a neighbor's sukkah. Fingers drummed the table, young voices harmonized and the area was filled with song, as the waning afternoon sun filtered its parting rays through the windows - arousal from below eliciting light from above - the simcha of a Shabbat afternoon.

Then, on Simchat Torah, following the exuberance of dancing the Hakafot, as happy, but physically weary, bodies settled down into chairs, the reading of the Torah began. I can't begin to describe my joy at watching the children press in around the bimah for the children's aliyah, some borne on their father's arms, a tallit-chuppah stretched over their precious young heads. The chazzan called out the words of the b'racha and their crystalline voices responded in unison, word by precious word.

As honorable and moving as the calling of the Chattan Torah and Chattan Bereishis are, and as much as it thrilled me to watch two friends being called to those honors, the children's aliyah touched more deeply. So much potential exuded from that collection of young neshamot. Who knows what impact they might make on Am Yisrael and the world in the years to come, G-d willing. As we wind down from the spiritual intensity of the Rosh Hashanah through Shemini Atzeret period, our souls renewed and restored, isn't looking to the future with revived hope and determination part of what it's all about?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but cameras and HaShem's moadim simply don't mix. But then again, perhaps a picture could not have conveyed these holy blessings.