September 2021 — Tishrei 5782
We were hoping for a different kind of Yom Kippur. Everybody all together. But that is not to be.
One response to the difference between our dreams and our reality is a common expression in American culture. It is famously uttered by the Pats’ coach Bill Belichick. It is what it is.
It is what it is has a lot to commend it. It is clear-eyed. Sober. Realistic.
But it is not the most powerfully Jewish move. When Moses asks God what God’s answer is, God answers: ehyeh asher ehyeh, I will be what I will be.
I will be what I will be is a different voice from It is what it is. It is what it is focuses on the situation and accepts stasis, that the situation cannot be changed. But I will be what I will be is empowering. It’s about agency. It’s about each of us being able to transcend the situation.
What I have seen well up from our congregation in 1000 ways since March 2020 is I will be what I will be.
I will be what I will be. Classes convened, learners learned, people prayed, mourners said Kaddish, celebrants took aliyot to lift up their milestone, people born not Jewish chose to become Jews.
I will be what I will be. Our children got married during Covid.
I will be what I will be. Our children had children during Covid.
I will be what I will be. Our preschool met every day. Our religious school met every school day.
I will be what I will be. When the mask guidance changed, people put their masks back on, and services kept going without a hitch.
Tonight is about one more move. From I will be what I will be to we will be what we will be. This is the time for our community to come together so that we will be stronger than ever no matter what.
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of resources to run a thriving synagogue contending with a second year of Covid, along with a continued uptick in anti-Semitism that warrants continued strong security presence, and an aging building that, after 25 years, needs care. In addition, in part due to Covid, in part due to the blessing of young families just starting out, fully 25% of our congregation can no longer pay full dues, and we are a shul for all, regardless of people’s ability to pay. All of which makes our Annual Appeal urgently important. About 30% of our budget comes from our Annual Appeal.
We will be what we will be. The question is will we be stronger than ever? The answer depends on you.
If you have already given to this year’s Annual Appeal, a deep thank you. If you have not yet given, we will be sending an email with a link that will enable you to support our shul. We really need our Annual Appeal every year. We really, really need our Annual Appeal this year. Know that your gift literally sustains us.
It’s not it is what it is. It’s not I will be what I will be. Tonight, it’s we will be what we will be. Thank you for making us stronger than ever, together. Gmar chatimah tovah!
Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz
Tim Mahoney, President
Amy B. Klein, Chair of Annual Appeal