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I am aware that my Rosh Hashanah speech had an impact on many of you. You have written me letters and emails; spoken to me when we have seen each other in the halls of WHC, in restaurants, and on the street; and called me and left voicemail messages. Your response has been overwhelming, heartening, and encouraging. More than anything, it was unexpected.
I certainly suspected that, like all WHC members throughout our 165-year history, we pay attention to and care deeply about what goes on in our community and throughout the world. I certainly suspected that our membership identifies with the principles of Reform Judaism as a moral compass to direct us in our personal relationships and social interactions. But what I have experienced in the weeks since my remarks is the absolute hunger we have, individually and collectively, to participate in making the world a better place, not to be silent, and to express our concerns.
Each one of us, in our own way, has to decide how we will help. We can choose to act, we can choose to support, but I can now attest from personal experience, the one thing that we should all do is to fight off any hesitancy to speak our minds. Tell your families, friends, and co-workers what you are thinking, what you are doing, and why. I can assure you that many (if not all) of them are thinking some of the same things. If not, your willingness to say and do something may incentivize them do something too.
You have recently received a letter asking you to participate in this year’s Yad B’ Yad Annual Fund campaign. Since its inception three years ago, Debbie and I have chosen each year to contribute to Yad B’Yad. We know that contributions to Yad B’Yad apply directly to the current year’s operating budget and help offset the cost of every program, every service, the Religious School, adult education, and all efforts of tikkun olam that WHC offers. It is the broadest way in which each of us can support WHC, and by doing so, we will preserve the Temple’s endowment for costs incurred by future generations of WHC members.
Last year, nearly 550 WHC individuals, couples, and families joined us in making contributions to Yad B’Yad, the WHC Annual Fund, and we raised $400,000. Maybe this year we can raise $1 million. What an incredible statement that would be. If you participated in the Yad B’Yad campaign last year, consider doing something more this year. If you did not choose to contribute last year, maybe this year you can make Yad B’Yad, the WHC Annual Fund part of your charitable giving.
Throughout the November issue of the WHC Journal, you will find the many opportunities that fill WHC’s November calendar. Debbie and I are planning to attend the Interfaith Concert honoring Rabbi Lustig and German Ambassador Peter Wittig and the Kristallnacht Remembrance Service, participate in Sunday Stuffing, “shop, bid, and dine” at the Sisterhood Holiday Boutique and Silent Auction, and come to one or more Friday night services. And, of course, we will also host our monthly Shabbat dinner. There are so many more programs that interest us, and we will make an effort to attend others as well.
I hope that by sharing some of the things Debbie and I choose to do with and for Washington Hebrew Congregation it has incentivized you to do something too. As WHC members we are part of an exceptional legacy of Reform Jews who have chosen to make a difference in this world. Please be proud to be a part of it. I am.
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