As we begin to approach the High Holiday season, I want to ask you to think seriously about tzedakah and giving. Three of our members recently provided me with a perfect example of the highest form of tzedakah, giving of oneself.
I had been attempting, quite unsuccessfully, to recruit a leader for the Junior Congregation and for Tot Shabbat. It seemed I had asked everyone, apparently to no avail. Then, the perfect candidates asked me. In June, Cindy Kirschman approached me, asking to become the leader for our Junior Congregation. Soon after, Heidi Kieselstein offered to again lead Tot Shabbat, as she has done so artfully for many years. And a few weeks later Janine Cunix called. She will be working with Heidi for the year, preparing herself to lead Tot Shabbat in the following year. We are so blessed by the generosity of Cindy, Heidi, and Janine. Not all of us, of course, are in a position to make such personal gifts.
As I anticipate standing before you, presenting the Yom Kippur Appeal during the Kol Nidre service, I have great respect for what I will be asking you to do: to give of your financial resources, even to the point of sacrifice, to help support our synagogue.
In recent months, many good things have happened at West Suburban Temple Har Zion. Our impressive program of religious education and observance continues under the direction of our similarly impressive staff. We have wonderful new members; we have new teachers; the building is cleaner; the flowers are more abundant; we will begin to use new mahzorim; a singles group has begun; Shabbat greeters welcome worshippers; appropriate entertainment has made Shabbat dinners increasingly child-friendly; we had a wonderful, and financially successful, Dead Sea Scrolls fundraiser; and lots more.
How does one find the money to give to the synagogue so that these wonders may continue? While walking with generous friends, I asked how they do it. Their answers may sound familiar. One has to be creative about giving, they agreed, given today's high costs of nurturing and educating our children, and ourselves.
Here are a few of the ways these friends find extra funds. One might take a lunch to work for a month; eat out one less time per week or month; patch up the kids' jeans instead of purchasing new ones; cut a day off of vacation; buy one less "something" on impulse.
We do not often talk about the effort involved in giving, and I want you to know that I recognize the challenge that most of us face in responding to our synagogue's needs. I ask you to prepare yourself now to meet the need for your annual gift, or your pledge, so that we may continue to plan programs, improve our building, and maintain our Jewish heritage for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren.
Please do your utmost.
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