Kol Nidre 5782

Gut yontif. I have heard there are three secrets to a successful Kol Nidre speech. First, have a good beginning. Second, have a good ending and third, have the two as close together as possible. I will try to make it short and sweet. This is (about) the 75th time that a President has stood in front of this congregation on Kol Nidre. What a wonderful milestone and I’m very proud to be standing here right now.

I think each of us has a special connection to Temple Beth
Sholom. How each of us experiences TBS is different and
that is one of the great things about our community. We
connect to Temple Beth Sholom in our own special way.
Maybe Sisterhood or Men’s Club is your focus. Or Social
Action is your main effort. Or some may connect to the
Rabbi’s Bible class weekly. Some may connect to Temple
Beth Sholom’s wonderful Hebrew School.
If I were asked, “What is my special way of connecting
with Temple Beth Sholom”, I would say Saturday morning
services. On Shabbos morning, we learn about the week’s
Torah portion and Rabbi Scolnic’s thought provoking
interpretations and his wonderful sermons. With Rabbi’s
punny jokes and easy style of delivering the message, it
makes our services so much more engaging.
We have had Sisterhood Shabbats, baby-namings and
Aufrufs. But the Bar/Bat mitzvah smile after they finish
their Haftorah and sit down while we sing Simen tov and
Mavel tov is my favorite. They feel so accomplished and
proud of themselves, and relieved that they had gotten
thru it, as they should. My Shabbos morning regular
attendance provides me with both the strongest connection
to our Temple Beth Sholom family and an opportunity to
find some inspiration knowing that tomorrow starts a
whole new week with its many possibilities. In all the
years I have been coming regularly to services, I always
leave with a feeling of a strong connection to our Temple
Beth Sholom community.
The sound of the shofar challenges us to spiritually wake
up. We are encouraged to reflect on our spiritual commitment
to ourselves, our families and our community. Although
we are a diverse group, I was moved to see how we, as a
community, throughout this Pandemic, have acted as a
whole and not individual parts. We have all chosen to be
part of this TBS community, where we come together,
where we congregate and have a network of support and
relationships. We all joined this synagogue because we
believe in supporting Jewish institutions. We have all
joined a synagogue because we care about the future of
Judaism in our community. There will come a time when
you need a synagogue. Because you were there for Temple
Beth Sholom, TBS will be there for you.
If you noticed that I used the word community many
times, you are right. It was intentional. TBS is a community
synagogue. A community synagogue needs the community
to support it financially. Every year we ask for your
support through High Holiday pledges, since our dues do
not cover all our expenses. Last year everyone was so
gracious and generous that we far exceeded our goal. But
with an Air Purifier system needed for our Sanctuary
and Social Hall to improve our defense against the
Pandemic and beyond, and permanent security needs
like an internal Public Address System, hopefully, you
can continue with at least the same assistance as last
year. As I said last year, think about what makes Temple
Beth Sholom a special place for you and have dreams like
our founders.
In this 75th year, we should be proud of what we have
accomplished and we should be proud of the direction
that we are going. Just remember, we have more
celebrating to do. So, please join us Friday night and
Saturday morning, November 5th and 6th. Hopefully, our
whole community will join us.
We have a shul member who is the epitome of community.
He has shown leadership abilities in all areas of his life.
He has been Men’s Club President, Ritual Vice-President
and President of different organizations throughout the
years. He is a regular Shabbat attendee. His command of
Hebrew is exceptional, developed over a life time
commitment to Judaism. He was born in Vienna, Austria
where he was Bar Mitzvahed. He risked his life escaping
the Nazis by jumping off a train, walking over mountains
and making his way to Switzerland. From an immigration
camp, he made it to the United States in 1940. He
reconnected with family in Vineland, New Jersey. In 1942,
he was drafted into the Army. He served in the Pacific
Theater, where he was wounded and earned a Purple
Heart, a Bronze Star, a Combat Infantry Badge and a
Presidential Citation. Following the war, he made a
significant commitment to the Jewish community, where
ever he was living. He also passed on his love of Judaism
to his two children, Gerry and Stanley and his grandchildren
and great grandchildren. After moving to the
Towers in 2014, he joined Temple Beth Sholom. He has
also served on the New Haven Holocaust Committee and
has been a speaker in the area, telling his story of survival.
And we were very fortunate that he chose to join us at
TBS. His positive and engaging demeanor, endeared him
to us.
I am honored to be able to present this year’s President’s
Award to Izzy Judah, who will also be celebrating his
100th birthday this Saturday.
TBS President
Joan Levineå a