The President will be in soon.
Seth Krosner, President
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
As many of you may know, my son Truman began preschool this year, and I have now become the proud father of a Silverman pre-school honor student. (Like all of your children he is far above average!) Ironically, Truman was born while I was saying Kaddish for my Mother, may she rest in peace. It is one of my great disappointments that the two of them missed knowing each other by such a slim slice of time.
While I was watching my son’s life start, I was remembering my Mother’s life. What links us to our past, and gives us a share in the future? I would say our traditions. Our traditions are the actions that remind us that we are part of something, that we have a share in the world our grandparents built for us, a world that we continue to build for future generations.
Originally, I thought of sharing some of my favorite traditions with you, but it doesn’t really matter what my traditions are. What matters is that I have them, and you have them, and that together we build a world where our daughters and sons have an opportunity to find or create their own favorite traditions. Whether those traditions involve dreidels, afikomens, Tzedakkah boxes, Shabbat candles, or morning minyans, we, all of us, share an obligation to build a world where our traditions thrive and are available for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
So how do we start to build such a world? Well, there is one Jewish tradition that everyone in this room performs regularly, many of you as recently as on the way here tonight. I am speaking, of course, about disagreeing with those we love, and offering them the benefit of our own superior knowledge and insight. Our community will have the chance to engage in this traditional mitzvah very soon.
On Sunday, the 14 of October, we are holding an important event here in the synagogue: “Tifereth Israel – What’s the Point?” will be a town hall type meeting. What does that mean? The event will be an open forum and facilitated discussion where all of us will have the opportunity to share ideas and advocate for the changes we are passionate about. We will be actively discussing ideas for new programs, and new ways of doing thing.
The event will be facilitated by Eric Kaufmann, a Torah School parent who runs such meetings professionally. He has generously donated his time and expertise, and I am very grateful and excited. Whether you are a brand new member this month, or your family helped build this shul, whether you think the synagogue is perfect or are frankly downright frustrated and have even thought of leaving (especially you), we need to know your thoughts. What would you like to see the shul do more of? Less of? Differently?
You will all be receiving a flyer about “Tifereth Israel – What’s the Point?” at services tomorrow. They are also available at the table just inside the social hall. Please set aside the time and join us – I want your voice to be heard. I want you to have a share in our future.
Finally, I’d like to take a moment to thank a man who has his own way of saying what he hopes for in his synagogue. Sid Weinberg has upheld the Jewish tradition of service to his shul for at least the last 18 years.
Sid has been a Gabbai to this congregation for a very long time. He has ensured that the Torah scrolls are set to the right spot for each service, has given out the Alliyahs and called those honored every Shabbat, and has gotten to the building before 7:00 a.m. every morning for years to make the most robust coffee you’ll ever taste for our morning minyannaires.
At 93, we’re starting to give Sid a bit of a break, which he well deserves. But let me officially thank you, Sid, for all you’ve done for this shul over these many years — we are all very grateful — Yasher Koach and Todah Rabah! It is because of the service of our people like you, Sid, and many other shul volunteers, that this synagogue thrives and is available 365 days a year.
Not all of us have the same skills, the same time, or the same energy. And that’s fine – really. But we all have something to give, and we can all take responsibility to ensure that our voices are heard, and share out loud our hopes and dreams for a thriving, constantly vibrant and evolving synagogue. Please join me at “Tifereth Israel – What’s the Point?” on October 14. See you then!
I close with this traditional Yom Kippur wish: May each of you be inscribed and sealed for a year of blessing.
Tifereth Israel Synagogue. Tradition. Community. A future with you.