President’s New Year Address to the Congregation
As we bring in this New Year together, the year 5775, let us consider that – as we sit in our synagogue today on Rosh Hashanah – we are joined by millions of Jews in synagogues all over the world. We are Jews and we are making a powerful statement about our commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people.
When you entered the sanctuary this morning, perhaps you noticed the banner that read “In this House”. This phrase comes from a song that we’ve sung at services that describes a sacred place, a synagogue, in which there beats the heart of a family; it’s the center of a community; it’s a place of engagement where people come together to find room for the friend, for the stranger, to find joy and celebration.
I’ve said it before but these are not just words to me! They are what I believe. Temple Emanu El is a family! We are a family that has grown and prospered. We live in different suburbs and go to different schools. We are a family from different backgrounds. But we are a family where each of us is known and respected. We are a family – sometimes very tightly knit and other times more loosely connected. But, like any big family, we come together at moments like this to celebrate. We help each other in time of need. We worry together about the future of our people and the State of Israel. We pray together for life and peace.
That’s why we do what we do at Temple Emanu El. That’s why Temple Emanu El exists. To make sure that, like in any family, our history and our story and our future are treasured. That’s why our services are now streamed so that those who cannot come to services can watch at home. It’s why Temple Emanu El’s religious school will be the first in our area to be accredited by the Union of Reform Judaism. That’s why our youth consistently become leaders in the NFTY region and why our Brotherhood wins awards. That’s why our Preschool continues to grow and out-shine its competitors. That’s why over 300 congregants volunteered their time and their expertise over this past year. And that’s why Cantor Lawrence chose us.
Temple Emanu El is US. It is you and me. It is our staff and clergy. It is all of us who fill the sanctuary today, who remember the stories of our past and look to the future. It is the children who fill our classrooms and their parents who make all things possible. This is who Temple Emanu El is.
Let’s make this a year of engagement. Let’s not stand idly by. Let’s seize the moment. Let’s make a difference.
Become a part of and partner with us as we continue to make Temple Emanu El the spiritual home we all want. This year our goal is to engage with each of you. We want to welcome you, hear your stories, learn about your talents and passions and let you know that now more than ever you are cared about and cared for. If we build that strong foundation and engage with each other – you with the temple and the temple with you, our future – that of Temple Emanu El and the Cleveland Jewish Community – will be ensured. We will know that within these walls there beats the heart of a family..
In this New Year, let’s not stand idly by. Let’s seize the moment. Let’s make a difference. If we truly want to shape a better future, we must commit to doing and to acting today.
This morning I ask for your help – your help to secure Temple Emanu El for the next generation, for our children and grandchildren. I ask that you increase your financial commitment – that you do not stand idly by but that you seize this moment to make a difference. Make a gift to our annual High Holy Day Campaign. You have an envelope at your seat or in your prayer book. Last year, more of you gave and we were able to meet our goal and balance our budget. This year, I ask that you give again so that we not only meet our goal but exceed it. With every gift you make, every time you increase your gift, you re-establish the foundation upon which our temple stands and you secure another piece of tomorrow so that our spiritual home, our temple, will be a beacon of light for generations to come.
Let us pray that it is a full, sweet round year. May it bring each of us good health and peace – peace of mind, peace at home, in our country and in the world. Let us act today so that we may preserve tomorrow. Let’s not stand idly by.
Judy Uram, President