From Rabbi Weber
I had a wonderful time this fall, meeting with so many people – members and non-members – who wanted to explore their “passion and joy” in Jewish life. Some of you have started projects at TRT, others are now out working in the community. In every case I was moved by the emotional attachment you have to Jewish life, even if they do not yet know how to turn their passion into joyful action. If you haven’t yet called to talk with me, I hope you will; the invitation is still good!
I am also happy to learn that so many of you have already found your passion and joy in the things we do here at Rodeph Torah. From the overwhelming response to Rock Hashanah to the excitement about our new “Born to One” Social Action program, to the joy of adult study and seeing children and grandchildren learning about Jewish life, you told me how you found something at TRT that was missing before you came here. I can’t describe how much joy those meetings brought to me!
And I was very surprised – and pleased – that some of the people I spoke with wanted to know how they could offer their financial support to what we are doing. They made me think of things I had never considered before, and their ideas are worth sharing.
In essence, their challenge to me was this: “I love that Rodeph Torah does X; how can I sponsor it? I didn’t have an answer at the time, but now I do. The answer is simple: if there is something we do at TRT that you would like to sponsor, that you would like to support directly, tell me.
Do you have a child or grandchild in our Center for a Jewish Future? Have you seen what they are learning, and the passion and joy which they bring to their study of our heritage? Would you like to become a sponsor for their grade for a year, or for a semester? Tell me, and we’ll make it happen.
What if you don’t have children in our school, but you are passionate about educating a new generation of Jews? You can sponsor a grade, too. Tell me, and we’ll make it happen.
Are you one of the nearly 100 adults who get together and study at TRT? Would you like to become the sponsor of this year’s Adult Education program? Or would you like to sponsor an adult Hebrew class? We would be happy to honor you for your contribution to Jewish literacy in our community… so tell me, and we’ll make it happen.
What about “Rock Hashanah”? The response to our first attempt to create a new way to celebrate the New Year was overwhelming; many of you said it was the most meaningful Jewish experience you have ever had. We want to repeat this next year, building on the incredible energy we felt together. To make it happen, we are looking for four families to step forward and sponsor the service, because it was an expensive event. So if you loved what happened – if it brought you joy, if you are passionate about making sure it happens again, and if you have the resources to help, tell me. Together, we can make it happen.
What about our Youth programming? Or Social Action? Or our outreach to young families, and young adults? If one of these is something you are passionate about and would like to sponsor, tell me and we’ll make it happen.
One last idea; something which Shira and I are passionate about. The Compassionate Circle was formed several years ago to guarantee that no family is ever turned away from the temple because of their financial circumstances. Compassionate Circle members “adopt” a family (anonymously, of course), taking on the dues and school fees which the family cannot afford to pay. Shira and I have been members since the program’s inception because we love knowing that Rodeph Torah is open to everyone, and that we help to keep that promise alive. If you think you would feel joy being part of this, I warmly invite you to tell me. Together, we can make it happen.
A Jewish community is not a building, it is people. As I look around TRT I see people who truly are passionate about what we are doing here, and who find joy in being part of our holy, innovative, exciting community. Whatever way you choose to engage your passion and express your joy, I hope you know that you are Rodeph Torah at its very best.
Shira and I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and joyful 2014!