5769 High Holidays

      In the 1500’s John Heywood, an English playwright and poet said, “Many Hands make light work.” When I first saw this quote, I immediately thought of Temple Beth Sholom and our congregation.

       As you enter our back entrance on any given day, it is buzzing with activity.  First stop is the office. Our wonderful staff, Barbara and Bobbie keep their hands busy with organizing the donations, answering questions on the phone, selling gift cards, lots of typing and of course preparing announcements for Shabbat services.
You hear children laughing and singing down the hallway, learning and preparing for the next festival. The many hands of our educational directors bring families closer together during the well planned Tot Shabbats and Early Family Services. The aroma of Honey cakes baking in the kitchen brings back memories of grandma’s house. What a delicious way to teach traditions to children during Hebrew School hours.

    As we walk down the hall, we come to our beautiful library and chapel. It’s a place for solace and reflection. It is comforting to know that you will be surrounded by Temple family when you need it most. The warmth of this community reaches outside our doors as well. It takes one email from our social action committee’s hands to reach out to our Covenant to Care projects. You answer the concerns without hesitation, because you understand the need that MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK. You recently exceeded the number of backpacks requested that were full of school supplies. They were well received and appreciated. You answer the call when food is needed for the Hamden Food Bank. You have donated coins for Walk Against Hunger. This congregation makes a difference in so many lives while volunteering at the New Haven Downtown Soup Kitchen. Our hands help prepare and clean up dinner for those who don’t have a regular hot meal.
        I have been teaching reading for 30 years. I know from first hand experience that many children are not lucky enough to have parents or grandparents at home to complete homework that should include reading 15 minutes a night. Many of our congregants are reaching out to be a part of The Jewish Coalition for Literacy. This program asks you to volunteer in the Hamden and New Haven schools. There isn’t a warmer feeling in your heart than to see a child’s face glow with pride as the words on a page makes a connection to his/her own personal being. A gentle pat on the back from your hand is what every child needs to succeed in life.
     A few weeks back, I sent out a letter to our congregants in the medical profession. I requested funds to purchase an Automated External Difibultor for the temple. You responded by donating thousands to the fund. The AED will be hung in the hallway after the holidays. Now, it is secure up here at the bimah. At this time, 6 congregants are trained in CPR and AED use. Many more congregants have   asked to be certified. We will be setting up training soon. Your hands contributed to making our temple community a safer place to be.
Sisterhood’s many hands are reaching out to support The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s “Passionately Pink for the Cure”- raising funds helps bring forth awareness about Breast Cancer .This is in addition to the ongoing projects that support Temple activities .Men’s Club is reaching out to work side by side with Social Action this year. There hands support the Yom Hashoah Yellow Candle project and are looking into creating a permanent Holocaust memorial at the temple.

    I am thrilled to announce our membership has grown this year. We welcome our members to get involved in the many activities the temple has to offer. This includes all the activities previously mentioned as well as Adult Education classes, Bible Study with the Rabbi , visiting residents at Arden House, or assisting members by providing much needed rides to doctor’s appointments. These many hands and minds are kept busy at Temple Beth Sholom.
     Our informative bulletin and website are sure to keep congregants up dated on a regular basis. The busy hands of these editors have also reached people who are potential members.
    Our beautiful, renovated synagogue would never have happened without your generous donations. The Donation board and plaques in the hall show our appreciation. But, as our membership grows, this caring community can not function without your continued financial support.
    The future of our synagogue relies on the generosity of its members. Please look over the Endowment fund flyers that can be found in the prayer book. By naming TBS a beneficiary, your charitable donation will provide a lasting memorial for you and your loved ones.

      As it is a tradition at this holiest night of the year I must to ask for your help in supporting all of these current and future outreach and in-service programs.
We count on your generous donations, which is why I feel that John Heywood in the 1500’s might have had a temple in mind when he wrote MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK.
      If we each make a contribution to the High Holiday pledge fund, no matter what amount, the many hands will add up quickly. We all know we are in an economic crisis.  We need to come together to support our temple so that it will be here for generations to come. These future generations are relying on us to make financial sacrifices today. For over 50 years, members of our congregation have been making donations to ensure this temple remains a viable caring community. Please do whatever you can to continue this tradition.

       At this time, I would like to continue another tradition. I have the honor to recognize a Temple member. This quiet gentleman is in all sense of the word a gentle man. According to his wife” he is just following in his father’s footsteps. It’s in his “genes.” It’s what he does. No fanfare. No recognition wanted”, but that’s not what is going to happen this evening.”
    This member comes to Hamden, via the coal mining state many years ago because of a job transfer. After joining Temple Beth Sholom in 1980, he knew it was right for him and his wife. He became active on the board and was then asked to be Treasurer. Needless to say, this volunteer job was tedious and time consuming. Later on, he accepted the position to be our House Vice President. This recipient had to work with our insurance company several times on his watch for some very unusual situations. I’m sure he’ll never forget when the tree fell on the Rabbi’s car or when a car accident in the front of the temple resulted in the bus stop landing on Temple property.
    His lovely wife told me that there was several times that after mid night, when they were on their way home, he pulled into the temple driveway. She of course would question “why?” and his answer was, “I just have to check to see if the building was OK. His intuition was correct. The alarm wasn’t set. Today, we all make sure the building is secure before we leave the driveway.
     He is always available for many committees and gives very sound advice even after his vice presidency is over.  He regularly attends services and readily assists the present board of directors by taking on the position as Trustee.
     We are glad you have been a part of our community of 28 years, so it is with honor I am pleased to present the 2008 Presidents Award to a man whose hands, – many times over – has made light work for all of us. WAYNE SHORE.