High Holy Day Appeal
Dear Members and Supporters of the WRJC,
It has been two years since we have all been together in the same place for the High Holidays. While for many, a lot of time has passed slowly, and for others, things have moved quickly. And for our community here, The Wood River Jewish Community, we have continued to grow. New individuals and families have moved to our community and joined our membership, and many longtime members have spent more time here than ever before.
At this past week’s Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah daytime service, we had more than 100 members of the WRJC for each service.
And, we’ll have our first home and synagogue in 5782.
During these past months, The Wood River Jewish Community has, in many ways, become stronger. And this year’s High Holiday appeal has a generational appeal; in a sense, it is much like a Talis wrapped around our community. And it is L’dor Va’dor - from generation to generation, from young to old and old to young – and this is the future we are asking you to donate and support today – for the future of the WRJC.
Just a year ago, one of my first friends at the WRJC, a member many years older than me, took ill with COVID. Each time I called to hear how he was doing, and only to learn that he was improving, I felt as if part of my family was getting healthy and would live -- this is community.
As you entered Services, you saw the drafting plans for our first sanctuary ever in a state with one of the smallest number of Jews in all of America. Our work here today, and always, is to build, maintain and grow a sustainable Jewish Community in the Wood River Valley.
As we join as a congregation over these Days of Awe, we are setting our spiritual path for the coming year, and this path can build a stronger community for us all, young and old, to walk together. Building community only happens through effort. The magic of community develops when individuals join in supporting one another and relationships are built. When we see one another around town, which often feels like a small University campus, there is a sense of commonality between us. In my role as a WRJC Board member and an active member of our Jewish community, my life has become measurably richer through the relationships that we have built together.
A simple question for this coming New Year is to think about is how each of us can be part of this community through more action, engagement, and activity. It is this giving of oneself that makes us stronger.
Your time and financial support make the Wood River Jewish Community what it is today. Many of us here have committed our membership dues, supported operational campaigns, and donated to our Building Fund; these are all are components of what keeps the Wood River Jewish Community alive. And as we are one of America’s smaller Jewish communities, we also have very modest memberships dues. We depend greatly on individual contributions – such as those which we request you to consider donating over this High Holiday season.
During these Days of Awe, we begin a conversation with God and our families and community about what we have done and what we would like to do differently in the year to come. One of Great Britain’s most famous Jews was Sir Moses Montefiore. During his long life, he became Sheriff of the City of London, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and an international spokesman in defense of human rights. His philanthropy extended to Jews and non-Jews alike, and on his 99th and 100th birthdays, The London Times devoted editorials to his praise. He had shown, said The Times, “that fervent Judaism and patriotic citizenship are absolutely consistent with one another.”
One story about Sir Montefiore we might remember during this season: Someone once asked him: “Sir Moses, what are you worth?”
He thought for a while and named a figure.
“But surely,” said his questioner, “your wealth must be much more than that.”
With a smile, Sir Moses replied: “You didn’t ask me how much I own. You asked me how much I am worth. So, I calculated how much I have given to charity thus far this year –- because we are worth what we are willing to share with others.”
So, this High Holiday season, leading us into 5782, is an excellent time to remind yourself what you are truly worth and how worthwhile building this small community is for you, your family, and future generations.
On behalf of the WRJC Board of Directors and our community, I thank you in advance for considering making this donation to the Wood River Jewish Community.
Vice-President of the WRJC