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Points of View
The Most Dangerous Column I Have Ever Written
My Point of View, October, 2006
© Rabbi Jack Moline

Here we are in the midst of our most intense fund-raising period of the year. Between membership obligations, tuition, fees and former pledges on the one hand and our Yom Kippur appeal on the other, you might get the impression that our focus is only on money. Certainly, it takes what Woody Guthrie called "the do-re-mi" to keep things going, but it takes more as well.

Some very devoted people hold office and appointment in the congregation. As officers, directors and chairs, they deserve our deep appreciation. But this column is about people who devote themselves to congregational efforts without title or recognition (mostly). And it is dangerous because, of course, the minute it goes to press I will remember someone who deserved to be included. So forgive me for leaving your name out or, if you are exceeding humble, for putting your name in.

At the top of the list is Lynne Sandler. Lynne has held all sorts of offices and still carries a title or two, but no one is more dedicated to the life of this congregation than Lynne. She keeps you informed and directs all sorts of volunteer traffic, and she even comes to shul every week to see those same folks.

Our minyan regulars deserve recognition, but especially Ed Newberger, whose efforts make minyan happen. His patience and regularity and phone manner are legendary.

And though she will protest the attention, no one will ever be able to tally the kindnesses of Anita Turk to others, or of Alice Quint, who has not allowed anything to slow her down.

But here are other names you need to notice with gratitude. If they are here, it is because they serve without expectation (even if they carry some other responsibility officially): Sharon and Alan Weinstein, Diane Richer and Mary Anne Mulligan (music); "Saba" Larry Shuman, Rosie Meyers, Tam Neifeld and Ellen Bayer Pearlstein (pre-school); Miriam Perlberg, Jack Chesley, Sharon Bliss, Phil Lurie and Nancy Hailpern (gabbai'im); Tamar Powers (fundraising); Lynn Rosenblum, Al Barke, Joan Hartman-Moore and Doris Gazin (office and administrative); Randy Stein and Tim Bliss (adult ed); Ken Labowitz and David Sattler (legal); Howie and Alice Fierstein (hospitality); Ellen Esformes (library); Marti Schwartz and Stephen Kahn (accounting); Amy Levin (who anticipates the needs of others in remarkably insightful ways). And a bunch of people who are willing to do just about any task, or who have adopted a role that makes our shul a better and more inclusive place: Sarah Fisher, Nicole Yakatan, Barbara Elkin, Harvey Stoler, Joe Landson, Craig Fifer and (the person I most often exploit) Patti Rounsevell.

Yes, I left you off, as well as your friend who does even more than you. And for that I apologize. But whether your name appears here in print or not, you have my thanks and deserve the thanks of every member of this congregation and the wider community as well. Your efforts are not defined by title nor discharged by formalities – you bring your willing hearts and your willing hands. Your reward is likely to be one of those appointments, where your devotion will be no less appreciated, but easier to identify.

You are both our planters and our harvest.

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