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Kol Ha Bayit: New Year 2019

01/30/2019 11:07:53 AM


President Robert Jobrack


As we enter 2019 each of us should stop and ask:  what am I doing to contribute? I’ve sent in my membership commitment.  I’ve been driving the kids to Religious School. I lit candles during Chanukah.   I think I am up-to date on dues payments and I sent in a contribution for the end of year appeal.  I’m good, right?

It’s not enough.  

I believe that the future of Reform Judaism in the United States offers two alternatives:

Each of us chooses to become more active in our Jewish community

Reform Judaism withers and dies a slow, quiet death

I think Judaism in some form will continue, but not American Reform Judaism.

Obviously, I want each of us to take the first path.  I want each of us to not only maintain our community, but to make it stronger.   Yes, each of us has to provide some measure of financial support but way more important is a commitment to make the community stronger.  

As we talked about at the beginning of the Jewish new year and enter the new secular year, I want every individual to commit to do one more thing to strengthen our community.   

It doesn’t make our community stronger when we just to drop the kids off at Religious School and run errands at Target on Sunday.  Maybe helping out in the classroom would be better for us and for our community this year.

It doesn’t make our community stronger to drop off food for Oneg Shabbat and let others set-up.  Maybe joining in the celebration is a better way to keep Shabbat and strengthen our communal bonds.

It doesn’t make our community stronger when we hear of another’s illness and we feel bad for them.  Maybe visiting them or bringing them a meal would do more for us individually and our community.

It doesn’t make our community stronger when we allow so many committees to remain vacant or inactive.  Maybe taking on a role in a committee that allows flexible schedules to execute the job would do something that our congregation needs .

There are LOTS of ways to strengthen our community.  No one can do everything, but everyone can do one more thing in the coming year.  Yes, we all have to balance the needs of the Jewish community with all the other things in our lives including work, school, non-Jewish family & friends.   But if we each can’t find the means to do at least one more thing for our Jewish community, then what does that say about us and the commitment we’ve each made, either as a Jew by Choice, or back many years ago as Bat or Bar Mitzvah?

It will take work and commitment, but  Jews have survived in the U.S. for hundreds of  years and as an organized congregation in Fredericksburg since 1936.   Let’s not make our generation the one that breaks the chain because we can’t find the time.

“According to the labor is the reward” --    Pirke Avot (Chapters of the Fathers)


Rob Jobrack

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyar 5784