Once again, Shomrei Torah is performing the familiar ritual of preparing for the arrival of High Holy Days. Seating cards are mailed, sermons written, choir rehearsed, all of the thousand little details checked off the list.
Many of us are performing our own accounting during this month of Elul, taking personal inventory of how far we’ve progressed in the past year toward becoming the individuals we want to be, and what work remains for the year ahead.
Synagogue leaders perform this kind of accounting on the community level – taking a hard look at what our congregation has accomplished in the year now ending, and where we need to go in the new one.
But consider this: in the past year we’ve managed to double the size of our clergy, expand our programming, welcome new members into our community, reach out to the ailing and bereaved and hungry among us, guide dozens of us through lifecycle events, stage an enormous public celebration of our culture, and finish the year with our budget balanced and our finances healthy.
Who is responsible for all that we’ve accomplished? Certainly our lay leaders, who have worked diligently throughout the year, and our staff, who have shown exceptional talent and dedication in their jobs. And of course our rabbis, who continue to do an exemplary job guiding us in both learning and prayer.
But the real credit goes to you, our congregants, who’ve been breathtakingly generous with your time and energy and pledges. At the time of year when we make an extra effort to consider all that we are grateful for, I’d like to express my gratitude to you – for volunteering and participating, pledging and donating. I’m grateful for the advice you have offered (most of it, anyway) and the ideas you have shared. And I’m grateful for your patience and encouragement during a year of extraordinary challenge and change.
The new year promises even more of both: new worship experiences, like the monthly Rabbi’s Tisch and our new visual t’filah projected on the sanctuary walls. And, sadly, it begins with another looming deficit in our budget, and therefore with calls for your continued generosity.
If you haven’t yet renewed your membership, please consider the important work of Shomrei Torah, and the important role our community plays in your life, as you make your pledge. If you’ve already sent in your pledge, consider adding to it during the High Holy Days, a custom followed by literally millions of Jews around the world at this particular season.
On behalf of my family, and our entire synagogue family, I wish you a healthy, fulfilling and sweet new year.