With all the new technology, one can no longer get lost in travel. Planning a trip to a friend’s new home, we can reach our destination so long as we know the address. While recently visiting my 90 year old mother in Florida, we went to visit her cousin. I did not need to know the convoluted directions to get to cousin Sarah’s house—just the address. Mom found the GPS to be awesome, commenting, “Amazing gadget, isn’t it?”
A lot goes into the technology to make this “amazing” gadget user-friendly for those using a GPS system or perhaps, printing out Mapquest directions before embarking on a previously untravelled route. Many creative people make this possible; each contributing value, each of these deserving our thanks.
At the beginning of the summer, I met with our Cantor, and she asked me where I would like to see Adas Emuno “travel to” during my tenure as President.
As a dentist in my professional life, I practice in a community where various patients attend the neighboring church and send their children to the parochial school. They speak of the school’s outside activities: the card parties, the various sports leagues, the senior luncheons and of course, Bingo! And it reminds me of my childhood synagogue, the Pelham Parkway Jewish Center. Yes, it was a place where I learned to read Hebrew, celebrate the holidays, and of course, spend time in shul. But it was also a place where my family participated in some of these same activities. I recall the annual PPJC-sponsored trips my parents went on, while my siblings and I enjoyed being “spoiled” by my grandparents who stayed with us while mom and dad were away. My grandma, despite her limited English, helped run the weekly Bingo night at the PPJC.
While we may feel we are more “distinct” with the names of our congregations (Congregation Adas Emuno, Congregations Sons of Israel, Temple Beth Shalom, etc.), and while our temple names given by our founding members may identify us, to some degree, think about it! Have we also become more isolated and self-limiting? The Pelham Parkway Jewish Center was a community center which not only brought Jews of a similar mindset together on the High Holidays, the festivals, and weekly Shabbat services, but brought people of all ages together on other days, nights and weekends for a variety of events and activities. As a result, the Jewish community flourished.
As I begin my Presidency, I have been in contact with the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) for ideas to make our Congregation a welcoming community, as well as a center for all of us to enjoy and to share: both inside and outside of our Sanctuary and Religious School. I have reached out to our Board of Trustees and other congregants who I fondly refer to as our “movers and shakers”, to get their input as to how we can implement my “vision” and achieve the ultimate goal: a thriving community center at Adas Emuno, sharing our common bond of Reform Judaism.
So to answer our Cantor’s question, I hope to see our congregation involved in a “smorgasbord” of activities: an aerobics class, a strength-training class, at a barbecue, at a Bergen PAC performance, at the roller rink with our children, at family game nights, perhaps at a poker night; at a New Year’s Eve oneg shabbat with hors d’oevres and champagne for the grown-ups and and an alcohol-free New Year’s party for our teens (this year, December 31 falls out on a Friday evening)…actually in any venue our “Jewish Community Development Team” deems appropriate. I would especially like to see our congregation enjoy the monthly (or even more frequent) musical Shabbat service of yesteryear.
I am asking a great deal from our team and our Board. Do not be surprised if our development group asks for your personal and financial help in getting these activities off the ground for all of us to enjoy this year and for years to come. We are all members of the Adas Emuno community--- we all need to contribute and help make our community thrive.
For now, please program the following address into your life’s GPS: “254 Broad Avenue in Leonia”. Join me in this journey not only to keep Adas Emuno an inspiring place of spirituality, learning and worship, but also to create a community center which will put us on the map in “highlights.“ And if you have a Jewish Community Center idea, I am just an e-mail away at specto5 at earthlink.net.
Cantor Shapiro and all of us on the Board of Trustees look forward to seeing you at weekly services throughout the year, and I especially look forward to welcoming you at the High Holidays, to personally wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.