Sunday, October 12, 2014

Susan Grey's Yom Kippur Appeal 5775

Good Morning. Thank you to the Rabbi and the Cantor for that beautiful service and to all the volunteers who put in so much of their time and energy to make the holidays flow so seamlessly. 

For those who do not know me, my name is Susan Grey and I have the privilege to deliver the annual Yom Kippur appeal. More on that later... First, a little about me. 

My family and I have been congregants at Adas Emuno for over a decade. We arrived in Leonia in 2003 after many years in Manhattan and a short stint in Riverdale. We settled on Wood Terrace with our two very young children and an English springer spaniel. The children went to pre-school, Scott and I got used to the commute and we settled in. I’m not sure who first told us about Adas Emuno. Maybe it was the Raskins, or the Schullers or Elka—I just know that it kept coming up in conversation. Hey, there’s a really cool young cantor they said, with young kids, a beautiful voice, and a non-Jewish husband. So, I checked out Tot Shabbat, a Sunday pre–k class, a Rosh Hashanah service, and I was hooked.

I had always had strong connection to my Jewish background (but did not attend synagogue). I have a non-Jewish spouse, albeit one who is happy to cook and celebrate the Jewish holidays with my family but insists on the Christmas tree of his youth. We had no real plan on what we were going to do about religious instruction for the children, if anything at all. But after spending some time at Adas Emuno, I began to have a strong sense that I had stumbled onto something unique and special. Adas Emuno was a place that Scott could feel comfortable coming if he chose to participate, and I felt that I had found a place for my children to learn about Jewish faith, culture and social commitment—certainly more than I could impart to them.

In 2007, our 3rd child Griffin was born and as soon as he was old enough he started attending religious class. His siblings were overjoyed that now, he too, had to get up early on Sunday mornings! Last January, our daughter Molly was called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah—the first woman in many generations of Jewish women in my family. Grey is currently in 6th grade and Griffin is now in 2nd. Molly sleeps in on Sunday!

The synagogue has been through a few transitions since we became members and I am happy to report that today we are stronger than ever, with a committed clergy, a dynamic new Educator and a dedicated board of trustees. We have a full calendar of programs and activities for all ages. With prayer, study, music, food, and social action projects there is always energy and buzz at Adas Emuno. We offer different avenues for people to start, or to continue to explore how Judaism can bring meaning to their lives.

Please consider making an investment in the future of our unique synagogue. By investment I do not mean only one that involves financial gain. I mean an investment in the community, both the global Jewish community and our immediate community. Spread the word, bring your friends and encourage people to explore what we have to offer. I cannot articulate with perfect clarity why we each of us are here at Adas Emuno. It is very personal. I can say however, that no matter what leads each of us to this place, we stay because of the comfort and strength we draw from our time here and from each other.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. Please consider giving generously this year to sustain the special life we have created here at Adas Emuno.

Thank you, and a sweet new year to all. 

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