Friday, October 5, 2012

Beth Ziff's Yom Kippur Appeal

Good morning, good yuntif, good to see you.

It has been about a year since we've all been together. You look good. Haven't
aged a bit.

We have reached that point in the service where the squirming, coughing,
sleeping, whispering, and some listening begins—yes, the appeal.

When Virginia Gitter reached out to me to let me know the board had asked that I
deliver the appeal, I was honored and then thought about the fact that this was
the first time I have not been a part of the board in many, many years and so
naturally, just when you think you are out, they pull you back in...

I have been dreing my kop thinking about what to say, how to make this
meaningful, interesting, and actionable.

The Rabbi planted wonderful seeds about our community, our need to survive, and
about living, praying and giving—reigniting the flame within.

So let's explore for a moment. If you will, take a deep breath in and let it out. Again.
In this momentary pause let your head fill with thoughts about this place.

Who did you come here with? Family? Friends? Alone? Why did you come here today?
What does it mean to you?

The people? The warm welcome you receive? The small, intimate space?

We joined Adas Emuno in the mid 90s when our children were in elementary school.
The feeling we had was one of being welcomed and accepted. Everyone hung loose. It
was okay to have squirmy kids in temple. And, we were invited to get involved right

When did you join? What was your first encounter like? Who did you meet?

We met lifelong friends because of Adas Emuno. We were not the go-to-temple-every-week kind of people and yet we were drawn in to this place.

Even though the kids balked about waking up for Religious School, they learned
Hebrew, learned about who we are as Reform Jews, learned about our traditions. They
came home with interesting projects, we won't go into detail about the wooden menorah
that caught on fire...

What is your experience with our Religious School? If you have never seen it, check us
out on a Sunday when over 70 kids are filling our classrooms from Kindergarten through
Confirmation. It is a whirlwind of activity and it is our future.

In the 2000s our children were bar mitzvahed. When did your children become
b'nai mitzvah? Have you ever been to a bar or bat mitzvah here? It is like no other. In 
this community our kids lead services. They fully engage with the clergy and the
congregation. Each one is awesome and special.

September 12, 2001. This community came together to grieve, pray, support one
another. People from all over the neighborhood showed up. We talked, we shared, we
cried, we hugged.

Over the past 17 years, our family has had moments of involvement and we have been
MIA. We have participated and we have not. We have experienced many clergy
members. Full time, part time, students, fully ordained and invested. The one constant
has been our community. The people. The buildings. The traditions. Knowing that the
temple is always there, if we choose to come or not.

How long have you been connected to Adas Emuno? What is the draw that brings you
here and back again?

Something brought you to this place. This place that is always and hopefully will always
be there for you. In good times and bad, for simchas and for mourning. For education
and action, for respite and for healing. For belonging and support.

Many things have changed over the past 140 plus years. Many things have remained
the same. That's the beauty of our congregation. You take what you want and get
what you need.

As you think about the coming year, reignite your connection to Adas Emuno. Living,
praying, giving. How you live and pray is very personal. How you give affects the entire

With your contributions we survive. With your contributions we maintain our home,
school, and sanctuary. With your contributions we inch toward 150 years... our

What is the catalyst that will make you say, this year I am going to give to Adas Emuno?

Give because you feel a connection
Give because you come to services regularly
Give because you do not
Give because you have children in the religious school
Give because your children were bar or bat mitzvahed here
Give because you want to
Give because you feel a little guilty not giving
Give because you only come to temple on the holidays
Give because you connect with the clergy
Give because you can
Give because it's a tax deduction
Give because we asked
Give because you belong to this community
GIve because it is the right thing to do
Give because we need to survive
Give because you never have done so before
Give because you always do so
Give more than last year
Give because you want this place, this wonderful, intimate, spiritual place to be here
whenever you need it.

Thank you for giving. Thank you for supporting the commitment to keep our
Congregation alive and thriving.

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