Filling the Gap

August 23, 2023
By Keith Satter

I hope you are having a wonderful summer. As of this writing after a hot, hot July, August seems to be shaping up as the better weather month. Meanwhile, much of our collective attention this summer has been spent preparing for the High Holidays. I wrote you in the last Bulletin about some changes in the way honors were assigned. In this letter I want to talk dollars and cents.

I may be busy helping around the sanctuary during services, but one prayer I pay special attention to is the U-Netaneh Tokef, which recalls with some specific description, the “Sacred power of the day.” But we are then told what will “avert the severe decree.” The “Three Ts”: T’shuvah, meaning repentance, T’fillah, prayer, and finally Tz’adakah, loosely translated to mean charity.

That is why every synagogue around the world brings to the forefront its High Holiday Appeal at this time of the year. By contributing, to fulfill the requirement of tzedakah. We are no different. By now you have heard from our High Holiday Appeal Committee consisting of Steve Stein, Michael Siegel, Barrett Lester, and Sharon DeFala, our Vice President for Fundraising.

One of the highlights of Yom Kippur morning is to hear Steve’s High Holiday Appeal. I don’t want to steal any thunder from his presentation. However, in many ways we approach our synagogue’s 89th year in much better shape than the past few years. First, we are healthy and back to meeting in person. Second, the economy is bouncing back from the difficult COVID and post-COVID periods. Unemployment is low, inflation is getting better, not the best, but better. Those on Social Security saw a healthy increase in their benefits for this year, and, overall, surveys tell us that people are starting to feel better about their economic situation.

I wish member dues could fully fund our shul, but the fact is that like so many religious institutions, member dues cover only part of the operating costs. At Beth El, we never turn anyone away because they can’t pay full dues. And that is why we have fundraising events that help fill in the gap.

Betsy and I have already made our High Holiday pledge and very shortly we will have the synagogue leadership totally on board. This year I would love to see each and every member reach into their pockets and contribute what they can to help support Beth El.

On behalf of Betsy and our family, our wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. See you soon.