This deep recession makes us wonder about how much we can accomplish with our suddenly limited resources. I offer you three examples of how our contributions, your contributions and my contributions can make a difference for those around us.
It is at this time each year I report on the activities of the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund. It is important that you know the good work you accomplish when you entrust me with donations on your behalf. The Fund helps to meet needs that are not budgeted – and that roster of needs is increasing daily as our collective budgets shrink. Over $9000 went to meet the needs of individuals inside and outside the congregation, including scholarships, assistance with unmet or unanticipated expenses and gift cards for food for local families. About $6000 went to organizations that serve congregants and others in the community. The largest donations went to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and to the Jewish Social Service Agency to support their synagogue liaison program that enables a social worker to serve our needs here at Agudas Achim. Significant donations went to various arms of the Conservative Movement and schools, educational organizations and service agencies. We sent $700 to ALIVE and $150 to sponsor an oneg Shabbat at the Jewish chapel of the United States Naval Academy. The Fund also provided gifts for the staff at holiday time, lunch for Jewish organizations meeting in the shul and the best $140 I ever spent, the tab for a group of young adults who frequent Shabbat services so they could meet socially and get to know each other better. We were also able to upgrade audio-visual equipment, replacing a broken DVD player and a fading television, as well as providing supplemental materials for teaching and programming.
Now is the time to ask you to consider contributing your words to our annual High Holy Day reflections booklet. Response to our “Ask Big Questions” project has been underwhelming. Elsewhere in The Bulletin you will find a list of the questions to date. Please consider writing on one or more of them, or on the subject of your choice, and submitting up to 250 words for publication. Please remember that submissions should be synagogue- and family-friendly.
Finally, some news you have probably heard (I hope from me!). I have volunteered to be the Director of Public Policy for the Rabbinical Assembly. In this role, I will represent in the public square the issues considered important by my fellow Conservative Rabbis. My first priority will remain Agudas Achim and its members, but in between I will be engaged in discourse on behalf of the RA’s concerns. In order to make time for these new duties, I have relinquished most of my other organizational involvements.
So you see that the absence of wealth need not paralyze our best efforts. Your generosity of hand, heart and time can inspire and enable an awful lot of good. I thank you for what you have done and for the support yet to come.
THIS MONTH’S BIG QUESTION
for the 5770/2009 High Holy Day Reflection Booklet
#7 Would you die for a cause?
Answers should be 250 words or less.
Indicate the question number, sign your name,
and send your answers to this address:
It will not be published unless you request otherwise.