Allow me to share a few thoughts as we approach the festival of Hanukkah, leading ultimately to the end of another year.
In my Kol Nidre message several months ago, I focused on the subjects of “Leadership” and “Financial Liquidity.” The High Holiday audience is obviously our largest and – as we had just elected new governing and Rabbinical leadership – offering details in these areas seemed timely and appropriate.
Right now, at all levels of leadership, we are focusing on ‘Engagement of Members/and the Jewish Population.” In my next entry, I will offer details relative to this important function.
Right now, what I can say is that we continue to look toward creation of religious programs and other opportunities that will take us a long way toward creating a “sense of belonging” for each of us. Things that will move you closer to your synagogue.
Recently, one of our former first couples, Rabbi Sheldon and Shulamith Elster, sent me a letter offering their enthusiastic endorsement of the direction we are taking here at Ohev Tzedek.
I was touched to find that the envelope containing this kind message also had within it Rabbi Elster’s “farewell message” to our congregation (circa June 24, 1968), as they were preparing to leave for their new congregation in Maryland.
Here are a few of Rabbi Elster’s thoughts as he was about to accept new leadership: “Our religious services have become more meaningful to all and I believe that the growth in attendance can in no small measure be attributed some of the changes we have made. I view our religious services as an opportunity for Jews not only to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, but also to share moments of joy as well as experience times of sadness.”
Rabbi Elster concluded his letter by saying: “I came to Youngstown because of the people… I can’t think of a greater compliment our congregation can be paid… than to say that my positive impression has not changed since my first meeting.”
As we unite to help and be with each other, may G-d bless you this Holiday season, and may G-d continue to bless Rabbi Sheldon, Shulamith and their family.