I am pleased to offer my annual report on the activities of the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund. As always, I begin and end with my thanks for your generosity and trust that allows me to act on behalf of this holy congregation wherever needs arise.
Immediate human needs were again the destination of the greatest number of dollars. Two families that were hit with unanticipated catastrophic illnesses were the beneficiaries of outpourings of tangible concern from the community. Friends and strangers alike stepped up to help meet needs; the Fund itself was able to augment as well. Additionally, half a dozen individuals with imminent crises asked for help and received it. I was able to help with rent, utilities, food and, in one case, a legal bill that kept someone out of jail. The total of these donations was $11,000.
On behalf of the congregation, I contributed just under $9,500 to 25 destinations, ranging from A.L.I.V.E., our extraordinary faith-based service provider, to Masorti, our movement in Israel, to educational and social service agencies. The largest check went to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
Unbudgeted program needs were also covered by the RDF. The largest expenditure--more than half of the $3,500--supported Ivy Weitzner's role as liaison to our synagogue from the Jewish Social Service Agency. Ivy is especially valuable to our pre-school. These monies covered our film night, speakers, classes, mezuzot for our pre-school and a necessary detail for the dedication of the Schiff Family Terrace: a portable PA system, now a resource.
There is no way to adequately show appreciation to our full-time staff, but each member received a modest gift during the winter holidays that totaled $1,000.
Opportunities sometimes present themselves unexpectedly. The Discretionary Fund helped to support our cantorial intern this past summer, provided musical accompaniment for the interfaith Thanksgiving service when the synagogue and church staffs were unavailable, and wrote scholarships to youth group and other educational programs. And there were a few times Agudas Achim played host to professional gatherings and, as they say, "no eating, no meeting."
Every expenditure is important. There is a small measure of extra poignancy in our contribution of $900 to the restoration of the chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary. Their historic wood chapel burned virtually to the ground, and we are fortunate to be able to help them restore the place that is the spiritual heart of their home.
I thank you again for your generosity and trust. I also encourage you to seek my help when it is needed--not just for yourself, though most certain so if you need it. I try to be as generous as I can with the causes near and dear to the hearts of the members of this congregation. It's why we are a community!