Message From Our President
There are times as Jews to stand up and be counted. There are times as members of Temple Emanu El to stand up and be counted. This, my friends, is one of those times. Please join me and seize the moment.
There are three basic themes to our High Holy Days – Teshuvah, T’filah, Tzedakah. I want to focus on two of these.
Beginning with Teshuvah, let us consider how we have done over the past year.
Temple Emanu El today is doing well. We have balanced the budget over the past two years in part due to your generous gifts to the High Holy Day campaign. With the leadership of our Executive Director, Renee Higer, our Treasurer and the guidance of our Board of Trustees, we have trimmed the budget and continue to do more with less. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Our membership numbers continue to be stable. We have lost members as some of our long time members have passed away over the past year and we will miss them. We have gained new members including many young couples and even couples making the third generation of Temple members. We have drawn members from a tri-county area. Under the capable hands of our Membership/Marketing Director, Andrea Rubin, and our Membership Committee, we continue to seek ways to attract new members and new ways to retain and connect our current members. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Our Religious School excels under the leadership of our Education Director, Kate Milgrom. She not only coordinates our K-12 religious school but our Adult Education offerings as well. This year, with the help of TEE’s Learning Committee, our Religious School will seek NATE Accreditation, an 18 month process of examining all facets of our education program. We will be the first in Cuyahoga County to be awarded this honor. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
With the help of Beth Mann, our youth programming continues to attract and inspire our teens; we have more kids that go to NFTY retreats than congregations twice and three times our size. With their involvement , we are investing in their future as part of K’lal Yisrael, the community of Israel. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Under the expertise of Julie Rosenthal, our Preschool Director, our Preschool is completely full. Our new infant care program for little ones ages 3 to 18 months is also doing well. We have a waiting list of pregnant moms who want to enroll their babies-to-be. TEE’s Preschool has earned a two star rating from the state which is no small accomplishment. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Our Brotherhood and WOTEE are there for us. We have the Chesed Committee, the Personnel Committee, Worship and Practices Committee, the Kitchen Committee, the Budget and Finance Committees, Fundraising, Israel Engagement, Programming, Tikkun Olam – all who provide for us the rich tapestry that is TEE.
These accomplishments don’t happen in a vacuum; they happen with the help of dedicated volunteers who partner with our staff to make TEE the best it can be. All that we do requires support beyond the dues, tuition and fees that we pay. We succeed because we come together as a community to support Temple Emanu El and each other. And we must continue to do so.
Let’s talk now about Tzedakah which isn’t charity but rather justice or righteousness. It is an obligation of the highest order.
Most of us have made tzedekah a part of our lives. We have favorite charities; we give at work; we give to a myriad of organizations large and small. But we give to Temple Emanu El because our synagogue – and not the bagel shop – must remain the primary Jewish address here in 21st century America. A priority must be the future of our HOUSE.
What matters to you? Continuing the traditions of Temple Emanu El? Providing scholarships for a trip to Israel? Helping children with summer experiences at a Jewish campr? Giving a teen the opportunity to be a madrich in our Religious School? Does it matter that we are a place to learn or simply a place to come after a really difficult week? If any of these matters to you or any other reason, then a priority must be the stability of our HOUSE. It will take commitment and sacrifice, time and effort, energy and money.
We are engaged in two campaigns. One is for our long term future; one is for the current year.
What can you do? You know!
Consider how you can help TEE secure its future by making a substantially wonderful gift to the Capital Campaign. And a gift to the High Holy Day Campaign to assure our balanced budget? These are gifts for the future of our synagogue and gifts for the future of our children; they are gifts for ourselves to know that our place of worship will be around when we need it, when we want it, because it matters.
Please join me, your Board of Trustees and Past Presidents as we continue the sacred work of ensuring the future of Temple Emanu El. Shabbat Shalom!