June 2012: Community as Family

Over the past year, the Temple Beth Sholom community has experienced a number of untimely deaths. Each of these people was an active member of our community in their own unique way, and each contributed to my personal life story and collective experience in some fashion. I think you, as members of this same community, know what I am talking about, understand the sentiment, and feel the same sense of loss.

Try explaining this to an outsider, someone not in our community or one just like it. A person you know passed away. You did not socialize together on Saturday nights. You were only at their house when one of their loved ones passed away. You don’t really know what their professional world was like and who is in their inner circle. But yet you feel a profound sense of loss at their passing.

We feel the loss deep inside because our community is our extended family. We pray together, we eat lunch on Shabbat together, we share in simchas and sorrows together, and we worry about each others physical, mental, and spiritual well being. More than friends, we are brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. We are connected in a way that is beyond words, beyond simple expression, and beyond understanding to those not involved. This is why it hurts when we lose someone. This is why it hurts when one of us is suffering. And this is why it hurts when one of our institutions is struggling. It hurts simply because we care so much about each other and our community.

We are very fortunate to have such a close and caring community. When one of us is down, there is always someone to help pick them up. When one of us is suffering, there is always a willing ear to listen and a helping hand to provide support. When one of our institutions is struggling, we rally together to help. It is what we do as members of a Jewish community, as an extended family, and as people committed to bettering the world.

So, as we continue to share life’s ups and downs with each other, as we continue to support each other, and as we continue to prosper together as a community, remember those family members who have passed on, their contributions to the community, and the lessons they taught each of us.

Evan Wyner TBS President