My 2013/5774 Rosh Hashanah speech at Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, Calif.
A synagogue, like Peninsula Temple Sholom, is many things. Around the High Holy Days, we are a beit t’filah, a house of prayer, worship and spirituality. We are a beit knesset, a gathering place for friends, neighbors and the community. And of course, we are a beit midrash, a house of study for adults and children.
We strive to ensure that PTS is always a beit shalom, a house of peace, of caring, and of healing. Since 2012, we have embraced sukkat shalom as our guiding principle. Everything we do should maintain and enhance a shelter of peace over our community.
Who builds and maintains that sukkat shalom? You do. A few months ago, we had a Recognizing Volunteers Shabbat, and there were more than 300 names from those who actively helped our congregation. Wow! I’m not include that list here, but as we begin the New Year 5774, allow me to mention a few key groups. First, let me praise our congregational lay leadership and volunteers.
Allow me to thank the Board of Trustees: Marci Benson, Marc Engel, Rob Filer, Michael Fried, April Glatt, Liz Gottfried, Stacie Hershman, Linda Korth, Roger Lazarus, Reid Liebhaber, Scott Rodrick, Heidi Schell, Lauren Schlezinger, David Silberman, Sharon Silverman, Andrea Sobel, and Michelle Tandowsky. Also Esther Gillette, the president of Sholom Women and Alex Wilkas, president of Brotherhood. Let me thank Darci Rosenblum, president of the Preschool Committee; Eva Heller and Anna Kurzrock, co-presidents of PARTY; and everyone who chairs or participants in a committee or task force. Our lay leaders and volunteers are our congregation’s strength.
Let me acknowledge the hard work of our past presidents, many of whom continue to serve the congregation on committees, task forces, and projects. Our past presidents are our congregation’s wisdom. Allow me to thank Rabbi Dan Feder, Rabbi Rebekah Stern, and Cantor Barry Reich for their 24/7 commitment to every Peninsula Temple Sholom family. Our clergy are our congregation’s soul.
Let me call out Executive Director Sandy Silverstein, Preschool Director Allison Steckley, Religious School Director Eran Vaisben, and all our staff and teachers. They work so hard for the good of the community. Our professional staff and teachers are our congregation’s heart.
Let me thank every one of you for supporting Peninsula Temple Sholom through your time and talent.
Everyone does so much — but I must ask for more. We need your financial support to build, protect, and maintain the Shelter of Peace over Peninsula Temple Sholom. If you have not already done so, please contribute to our High Holy Day Appeal at www.sholom.org/give.
We do not measure our success in dollars, but in participation.
To be direct: It costs a lot of money to run a synagogue, and to build and sustain the Sukkat Shalom over our community. Our goal is nothing less than 100% participation from every member, every family. No matter whether your gift is large or small, we need your help.
You have the power to help us toward our goal. Without your personal support, we will not reach 100% participation. With your help, we will succeed. Yasher koach — may your strength be increased — for all that you do, and may the New Year be sweet for you and your family.