Dear WJC Family,
The Japanese have an art form called kintsugi. It is the art of repairing broken pottery by attaching the shards with gold. The result is stunningly beautiful. This art form doesn’t seek to hide the cracks, but rather highlights them to show that brokenness and recovery can be at least as beautiful as undisturbed wholeness. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said, “If you believe breaking is possible, believe fixing is possible.” It is possible to return from difficult times and events, and to do so even stronger and more beautiful than before, but it requires the investment of time, effort, will and yes, perhaps even gold.
This Monday, August 9, is the first day of Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah and the official beginning of the “High Holiday Season.” The first day of Elul is when we begin doing teshuvah. It is the beginning of “the time to return,” our focus for this High Holiday season. As we approach this time of return, we are continuing our new custom of appealing for tzedakah during the entire month of Elul rather than all in one evening at Kol Nidre.
Last Elul, I came to you in the midst of the pandemic crisis; no one knew what the year ahead would bring. You responded with love and support beyond what I could have imagined and I am so grateful. The High Holiday Appeal 5781 was one of our most successful ever. Because of your generosity and concern for our spiritual home, we were able to do everything possible to keep our community connected and vibrant. We invested in technology, staff, and programs to address the challenges and supported members of our community who were deeply affected by the pandemic. With your help, we were able to overcome the difficulties of functioning as a synagogue and caring for our members in a pandemic.
Of course, the ripples of the pandemic continue to impact our community. As we continue to adapt and address in an ever-changing pandemic landscape, we need to be prepared for anything—the path of return remains challenging and new obstacles continue to emerge. The costs associated with outdoor family and High Holiday services—from tent rentals to sound systems, security and other costs—are substantial. The recent spate of antisemitic attacks and the greater breakdown of the social fabric they represent, require renewed focus on security—a safe and secure spiritual home in which to practice our Judaism with pride and join together as a community is more important now than ever.
We are also committed to building on the lessons we have learned from the challenges of the pandemic and are continuing to innovate to improve our service to the community. Addressing the needs of members of all ages and life-stages will require investment even after we return to “normal” functioning. Continued investment in technology, outdoor spaces, enhanced staff, and a variety of programming and spiritual approaches will be a must as we move into the future. To truly be the synagogue we strive to be and address the needs of a diverse population, we not only need to “return” to what we did before but to fill the cracks that we can now see more clearly. This will require a budget at least as big as last year’s.
As our tradition teaches, giving tzedakah is an essential part of the High Holiday process—“teshuva, tefillah and tzedakah avert the evil decree.” With your support we avoided breaking under the weight of the last year, but there are still cracks and areas in which we can improve. This High Holiday season, I am asking for your help to fill those cracks kintsugi-style. At this time of return, please help us return not only whole, but even better and more beautiful than before. We do believe in the power of repair, the power of return. As we seek to restore ourselves from the difficult year we’ve all had and to return to the path God has set for us, let us invest in the restoration of our community so that we can all return to a WJC that is even more welcoming, beautiful, safe and accessible than ever before.
This year we will once again be running a paperless campaign without pledge cards at holiday services. To make your pledge online, please visit www.wjcenter.org/KolNidre. You can also call the office and one of the staff will be glad to help you with your pledge.
At this time of return,
may we return in strength,