L’Shanah Tovah and welcome to the year 5776. Just think, one year ago we were welcoming 5775. How time flies. Doesn’t it seem that every year, time goes by faster? We began the year with the highlight of Temple Beth El’s 50th Anniversary celebration by holding the Golden Anniversary Gala right here in our own building. A benefit of renovating our sanctuary is increased flexibility in the use of our facility, and those who joined us truly appreciated that there really is no place like home. We celebrated many simchas and holidays, including a memorable Purim Spiel, and yes it was good to be king. We have added new chairs and bimah furniture, and will continue to make improvements to our facilities. We also extended our relationship with Rabbi Singer with the signing of a new five year contract.
This year we plan on having many more events and activities for you to participate in, including commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof, or as I like to think of it, the story of my Roots.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rabbi Singer for her leadership, and Cantor Bob for guiding the musical portions of our services which add so much to the spiritual experiences we share. Thank you to Carolee Jaspan for her continued mentoring of our young people, to Ilene Stein for all she does, especially for helping to make Friday night services run smoothly, to Elise, Diane and Susan for carrying out the day-to-day operations of the Temple, to the Temple Board for your dedication to our congregation, to the members of the choir for making our services more meaningful whenever you are here, to the members of the Sisterhood for your continued support, and to the countless volunteers who relentlessly help to make Temple Beth El a place that is welcoming and essential to the wellbeing of our community.
I would also like to welcome all those who joined our congregation during 5775 and those joining us in 5776. You are now full-fledged members of the Temple. You don’t need to wait. I urge all of you to participate in the various activities and programs we have at Temple Beth El and not just let the other guy do it.
Let the other guy do it. Too often this is the thought that comes to mind when asked to join a committee, help organize an event, or donate to a cause or organization. Let the other guy do it. You know the activity will take place with or without you, the fund raising goal will be met with or without your contribution. What can you do that someone else more capable cannot do? Let the other guy do it. After all, what will your participation matter? The answer is, that without your participation Temple Beth El is just a building.
I urge all of us to make a new year’s resolution to become more involved with Temple Beth El and its many activities. Take that first step, make your increased commitment manageable. Come to one additional service, participate in one additional event, or attend one additional lecture this year. Donate to worthwhile events or causes that will support Temple Beth El. Through your conscious efforts you will help strengthen our Jewish community. Make it a habit, for you will be setting an example for your children and grandchildren by demonstrating the importance of our heritage and traditions. For with the active participation of current and future members of our congregation, Temple Beth El will continue to be a vibrant part of Riverside for many years to come. An important aspect of our mission is to help teach our youth the history and culture of our people. No one should ever be turned away because of a lack of resources.
With this thought in mind, the Temple Board of Directors has determined that this year’s High Holiday Fundraising Appeal will provide support for our Religious School Scholarship Fund. It is our joint responsibility as a Jewish community to support our young people in learning about our religion and culture. By supporting this fund, we will be able to help those families who would not otherwise be able to send their children to religious school, giving the next generation the opportunity to strengthen their religious foundation. If you have not contributed yet, I urge you to take this opportunity to contribute to this worthy cause.
I wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year. May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life.
Until next time, shalom.
President, Temple Beth El