October 2009: Your Three Words

Good Morning America Weekend has a Sunday segment called Your Three Words. Quoting from their website, “If one word can convey a lot about your state of mind, think how much three words could reveal.” Well, my three words are Temple Beth Sholom. These words and the many more words that I grouped together throughout this speech are more than a state of mind.

Let’s Visit Together and you will see and hear a chorus of children practicing Shabbat prayers. You may see nursery school age children listening intently to a story or you might smell delicious cholent, latkes or matzah cooking in the kitchen. Stop at the library and you might observe the Adult Education sponsored Writer’s Club, Book Club or Discussion groups conversing with special speakers.

You will be spiritually moved during Shabbat services and at morning and evening minyans. Our congregants have the opportunity to lead many services in the sanctuary and in the chapel. Rabbi Scolnic will assist you in any way possible. Are you ready to take the leap? We are making an easy transition to the new Sim Shalom siddurim on Shabbats. The English poetic interpretations of Sim Shalom give us much to reflect and discuss each week.

We are in the planning stages for some unusual programs that will introduce you to Evening Minyans. Have you heard of “Karaoke Chutzpa Minyan?” Come to evening minyan at 6:45 and then join us in the Social Hall to sing some of your favorite songs. Do you have the Chutzpa to be a part of this?

Our informative bulletins, website, newsprint publicity and now, our e newsletter, delivers up-to-date information to you. Open communication has been my goal as president and the editors of these publications and the office staff work very hard to get the word out to you.

Now, I know temple’s got talent! I have suggested to the board that we scout out talent and plan a Fundraiser musical. The past musicals have always been the highlight of a year and the talk of the community. Music has always brought comfort to many; so maybe our newly formed Kumzits might be the place for you to participate in or you can just sit back and enjoy the melodies. This year, I look forward to the very special fundraiser that will highlight Emily Fine’s Occasional Winds concert.

Generations come together at the many Family Shabbats, dinners, the Purim Carnival and the Shabbatons. We welcome newcomers and seasoned members to get involved to make it the best community possible.

There are, of course, always many challenges ahead for our synagogue. Our officers and Board of Directors work together to address the financial concerns that this economy has brought upon us. As our new year begins, the High Holiday appeal is more important than ever at Temple Beth Sholom. Your support is what allows our synagogue to grow and offer the many programs it does. As we listen to the local and national news, we hear the statistics stating that close to 10% of the workforce could be out of work soon. It is noticeable in Hamden that businesses are closing their doors. This trickle down effect has many of our congregants reaching out to the Temple for assistance. Heating and utility bills, tuitions, and medical bills all need to be addressed. There are many congregants who wish to continue to be members, but can’t afford their full dues. We work hard to include everyone, but the synagogue will have trouble meeting its budget as a result. If you can give a little, you will certainly get a lot. Your generosity and your involvement is what makes a synagogue grow and prepare the next generation. We must together invest in the future. Your support is needed now, more than ever.

And now, it is my pleasure to share with you the recipient of this year’s the president’s award. This person has been a vital part of our community since 1984. It was a slow start back then, but, she made up for lost time very quickly. Involvement started with attending Morning Minyans and joining our Sisterhood. She was later elected to the Board of Directors serving as Recording Secretary and then Ritual Vice President. When she decided to join a small study group and set a date for her Adult bat mitzvah ceremony, she chose the Torah portion, MASSEI because it speaks of “wandering through the desert”. She felt this was a reflection of her own personal search of identity. Quoting this recipient, “I never would have dreamed that today I would be reading Torah and leading services. I’ve said to the Rabbi, “I don’t do it”, (referring to some prayers in the service),” his reply was “you don’t do it yet.”

This recipient supports many committees that look to her for advice. One of the recent challenges has been assisting the office staff with the organization of offering Credit Card payments and coordinating the Calendar of Events. She shows patience and support at all times as  we work out the electronic kinks. She is involved in preparing Break Fasts, lighting the Memorial Boards and changing High Holiday Torah Covers. The list goes on and on. I am pleased to announce that this year’s recipient for The President’s Award is Michelle Murphy. I would now like to challenge the congregation this year. Send your three little words to our publications. Tell us what is on your mind.

May we all move from Strength to Strength.

L’Shanah Tovah.