It has become traditional for me to report on Discretionary Fund activity in this last column of the bulletin year. This year is no exception -- but with an added dimension. Not everybody's contribution is with discretionary funds; some contribute discretionary time. So read on and see what one person can do.
Once again, the largest single category of recipients were those in need of help. Over $2500 was given or loaned to people who needed something to get them through a difficult moment. Truth be told, many were turned away, not because of lack of funds, but because their requests were chronic. In two cases, we were able to direct people who came in off the streets (with regularity) to longer-term help. Another $2500 or so went to support organizations as diverse as the Jewish Theological Seminary, ALIVE, the Jewish Study Center and the Interfaith Council. The synagogue benefited from the fund as well in this tight budget year as it enabled Rodger Kamenetz and Marc Lieberman to speak and Craig Collis to perform; funded the Yom HaShoah observance for the community; published the High Holy Day supplement; provided interpreters for the deaf students in the community Intro to Judaism class; underwrote Purim, Simchat Torah and Confirmation expenses. And I was privileged to raise $1,800 from my fund and those of other Conservative Rabbis in Virginia to provide High Holy Day machzorim for the Conservative services at the University of Virginia.
Your generosity and trust again were very moving. There never seems to be a paucity of destinations for my discretionary funds, and I continue to struggle to meet all the legitimate demands which come my way.
But some folks also contribute with their time and quiet efforts. Those who serve as board members and committee chairs receive their appropriate recognition, but there are many who volunteer in ways that make your life better -- and you don't even know it. I mention only a few, and no slight is intended to those others who do so much.
Paula Hersson-Ringskog and Ingrid Willenz-Isaacs keep tabs on all our members who are sick. David Kasse has turned his personal loss into our congregation's gain by instigating morning minyan every day during the week. Jerry Salkin continues to shepherd that minyan as gabbai. Emil Regelman has invested countless hours in our office computer systems. Steve Yaffe has been the "scrip guy" every Sunday morning, filling a big bucket with those little drops. Mark Schlansky brought a personal story to the congregation which will inspire a great act of chessed (more to come). Iris Henley touched the souls of all the students in the Basic Judaism class with her personal concern and hospitality (and Biff, too -- but he was among the students!). And David Blumenstein, outside his board responsibilities, spent a Shabbat afternoon shaping the spiritual life of the congregation.
The reward of your efforts, be they of hand or heart, may be immediately discernable or simply and importantly the little bit that makes the difference. Keep it up! You make us all look good.