We Are In Action - Yom Kippur 2014

Good Shabbos & good Yuntif:

It’s wonderful to see you all.

I look forward to the holidays; a quiet time and a time for reflection. After much thought and careful deliberation…I do know one thing for certain: I won’t be running for re-election this year….

Well - on a more serious note.

As we look toward this New Year – 5775, we ask ourselves - Where are we going? And how and when will we get there? I think we all know the expression that it’s the journey that matters... life is about the journey. Well, my Temple Israel family, WE have been on quite a journey together! Sometimes it feels like we have been in a washing machine, tumbling around and around. Where is our direction? What is our way forward? What is our future?

We are in ACTION:

We have all been through a traumatic time in the past several months, but we have not let that paralyze us. In fact, the opposite is true. Just look at one of our new programs, the After School Adventures program where parents have signed up their children signaling the birth and potential success of a new program aimed at providing support to young families; we ARE strong, resilient and optimistic. This is the Jewish spirit.

We are in ACTION :

The entire South Shore experienced a great loss when the Solomon Schechter Day School had to close its doors. Though Temple Israel had experienced its own hardship, we stood up and opened our arms to this community. We said, “We are here and we will be your new home.” And so, Ner Tamid is now housed at Temple Israel. What better use of our building than to nurture Jewish Day school education inside our walls? This is truly the Jewish spirit of Tikun Olam. AND: Enrollment has increased at Hertz nursery school and at our religious school.

We look to our future with great optimism. We look to our future years and the changes in store, with great hope. I believe we have a sacred responsibility to “move forward.” 

We are in ACTION:

As you may know, we have hired a number of rabbis and scholars-in-residence to assist in our professional leadership, to make certain that we are delivering all of the ritual, education, and overall day-to-day support required to meet the needs and demands of our community’s various constituencies this year. We are in ACTION… I have spent a lot of time talking about change; change is coming and is happening all around us. We all know it, we see it, we feel it and we are sometimes fearful of what may lay in store for us. I have said many times now…we are a strong vibrant community that cares deeply about each other and our future. What kind of spiritual leader are we looking for? At some point in the future: who will be our next Rabbi? I look forward to the Rabbi, our new Rabbi, telling me about some program or some cause that’s important to him or her….I look forward to the Rabbi telling me with passion how important it is and why we should care….and I will likely respond; because I like having a Rabbi who cares and who’s passionate; I look forward to being excited and enthusiastic alongside my new Rabbi…..

Change is coming. Well, the future is here…it is now; now is the time.

We are in ACTION:

Peter Steinke, author of Healthy Congregations, explains that congregations need to move from being clergy-focused to mission-focused. Rather than relying upon clergy to inspire and perhaps even entertain the congregation, everyone is involved in a system of involvement, encouragement and teaching.” We have shared values here at Temple Israel and the congregation’s traditions and customs should never outweigh our shared values, meaning, connection and opportunities for growth. We are growing and

We are in ACTION:

A healthy congregation takes effort to build and much effort has been expended to bring us to where we are today…a healthy vibrant community. Members of the congregation may complain that there aren’t enough young people as part of our membership to “keep the tradition alive;” to improve, we must be willing to adapt our experience to invite a new audience. We are doing this!! My friends: (someone once said) “ Do not quit the synagogue enterprise — it has survived thousands of years for a reason”. We are growing. We are succeeding. Stick around for a great relationship. You will find it here.

We are in MOTION : Building our future

Together, we will succeed. But I need your help and financial support. As we make all this progress and move into our future, we must fund our opportunities. We do once again have a shortfall in our budget. As you can imagine, we have had numerous unforeseen expenses this year and Temple Israel needs your help. Please make a High Holy Day contribution…. a generous contribution in support of our future and turn down one of the tabs on your card that you will find by your seat.

I will close with what has become my “Mantra” at board meetings.

Our next generation: are we attracting them to Conservative Judaism and Temple Israel? We are working on it. We are a “work in Process”.

Our approach to Judaism matters. Our tradition and experiences are important but must also be informed and in communication with our present. It must resonate with today. The future; …..our future is now!


Let’s deepen our collaboration with those who are here and with those who are yet to come and be a part of our wonderful Temple Israel community.

For a sweet new year from my wife Lois and me.

Shabbat Shalom, G’mar Tov

Arnie Friedman
President, Board of Trustees