Dear WJC Family,
The Hebrew month of Elul has just begun and the High Holidays are approaching quickly. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Joyful Together” and there are many ways we hope to reflect that theme in our services and activities in this special period of the Jewish calendar. Both of the words are important—we want to be joyful, to create opportunities for joy for ourselves and others, and we want to be united together in these efforts, supporting, and strengthening each other. Today, I want to focus on one aspect of being “Joyful Together” which may be best expressed with a favorite story:
In a small village in Eastern Europe some time ago, a well-to-do resident decided he wanted to give a very special gift to his neighbors. He decided to build the community a new synagogue building. Folks watched as the new, grand structure went up on the hill overlooking the houses. It was majestic, and beautiful, and somehow comforting all at once. Finally, as the project neared completion the donor invited everyone to come have a look.
As the members of the congregation passed through the halls and into the hallowed sanctuary, they were awe-struck by the craftsmanship, the detail, and the idea of praying in such a magnificent space. But then Yossi, the village oil maker, said, “Wait. Where are the lamps? How are we supposed to see in here when it gets dark!?!” The people looked around and sure enough, there were sconces on the walls, but no lamps for them to hold. Everyone went home in a tizzy—no one wanted to seem ungrateful, but what a silly mistake! Could you imagine? A synagogue with no light!
Upon arriving home, each resident found a package on their doorstep. Inside was a lamp and a note which read: “Each of you has received a lamp this day. As long as you bring it with you when you come to pray, learn and serve at the synagogue, the space will be well-lit. However, if you don’t come, all of our ability to continue on our spiritual journey will be diminished. Please come—and don’t forget your personal light.”
My friends, we invite you to bring your personal light—your presence, your smile, your joy—to WJC during the High Holidays. It is also time for us to share our light in another way, by fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedakah during this season by making a pledge to the Kol Nidre Appeal. We have a special goal for this campaign—to be truly united in our efforts to support WJC and have 100% participation in this year’s campaign.
We believe that we will be more “joyful together” when we are all supporting WJC the best we can, everyone bringing a little light so that the combined effort glows as never before. If you are already a Kol Nidre Appeal participant, I hope that you will be able to participate again. Inflation has increased the costs of everything we do here. I am imploring you to consider a 10% increase over last year’s contribution—that is about the equivalent of maintaining the same level.
If you have not participated in the past, your participation, at any amount, will help make this place brighter and more joyful, help us maintain the ability to care for our members in need and those beyond our walls, help us to bring scholars and speakers to inspire, and help us be the community we strive to be.
Some of the things you will be helping enable us to do:
There is a lot to be joyful about at WJC as 2023 approaches. Keep your eyes open for more themed programming as the High Holidays approach and click the button below to make your pledge today.
B’Simcha (in gladness),