Annual High Holy Days Giving Opportunity
It has been a year unlike any other. In mid-March, the world abruptly closed its doors, and, in what felt like an instant, we were separated from our neighbors, friends, and loved ones in fear of a spreading pandemic. At Temple Israel, this has pushed us to ask big questions about who we are, what we do, and the purpose we serve when we can’t gather in person. Through those conversations two things became very clear. Our congregants need TI more than ever; and more than ever, TI needs our congregants. And it is our distinct, unique beliefs and values as a congregation that help us navigate the best ways to serve our members during these uncertain times.
COMMUNITY Because we believe that authentic, personal relationships are the basis of our caring community, we are working to provide ways to safely nurture them. We’re connecting seniors to youth through our pen pal program, hosting weekly online Onegs to mingle before Shabbat, and calling our most vulnerable members to say hello and find out how we can best meet their current needs.
CONNECTION We’re creating ways to connect in celebration and in mourning. Though we remain socially distanced, our Rabbis continue to officiate at times of simchas and sadness; weddings, B’nai Mitzvah, Hebrew namings and funerals cannot be stopped by a pandemic. Singing Mi Shebeirachs over the phone, answering late night texts from members feeling scared or anxious, shedding tears of joy naming babies over Facetime; we are connected now more than ever.
INCLUSION Hosting online programs have enabled many congregants to attend who otherwise would not be able to in person at our building. From seniors who can’t drive to an evening program, to parents who struggle to get their children out of jammies on a Sunday morning – now everyone can participate, and their participation only makes us more vibrant.
LEARNING Jewish education continues – our youngest children are enjoying videos of their teachers singing songs, reading books, and giving lessons as we gear up to safely open our early childhood program. Religious School and Hebrew School will resume online this fall, and our virtual adult learning opportunities are helping us all to explore difficult questions and wrestle with life's current challenges.
WORSHIP Services are streamed each week on our website and Facebook page, and they are just as participatory, joyful, musical, and intergenerational as we sing and pray along at home. We’ve had more people than ever join us for online services, which has created an incredible sense of community as guests welcome each other in the comments section with a “Shabbat Shalom.” And this year, we are creating meaningful High Holy Days services that will be available online and by phone so that we may all enjoy holiday worship together.
REPAIR OF THE WORLD Our responsibility to change the world for the better has inspired a social action task force who are working to identify injustices and examine our beliefs, our biases, and our practices as Americans and as Jews. And we continue to support those in need by collecting food donations and personal care items, and by being a force for social good.
CHANGE Change is inevitable and being Reform Jews means that we are constantly reexamining our faith and practice. Just like we’ve done throughout our history, we’re taking these challenges as opportunities for change. And as we continue to explore outside-of-the-box ways to bring us closer, we know that the months ahead will pose more challenges, which we’ll come together to tackle as a community.
Our congregants need us more than ever; and more than ever, we need you, too. Since our building closed almost 6 months ago, the income we rely on to provide classes and programs, Shabbat and High Holy Days worship, Rabbinical services and community support has greatly dwindled. Your contribution to this High Holy Days giving opportunity will allow us to live our beliefs and values year-round and serve this amazing Temple community no matter where we are and what the challenge.
Join the campaign and let’s tackle this together!
Rabbi Amy Feder
Rabbi Michael Alper
Louise Losos, President on behalf of Temple Israel's Board of Trustees
ANNUAL HIGH HOLY DAYS GIVING COMMITTEE
Susan K. Goldberg, Sally I. Heller, Amy Lampert, Jeffrey Stern, and David Weinstein