The Jews are a people in whom the past endures. We embrace our heritage, and are renewed through it. Beautiful and meaningful as Jewish tradition surely is, however, it is not enough to guarantee that our people will continue to thrive. For Judaism to flourish, it must look to the future as well as to the past.
At Beth Shalom, we seek the forms that bring meaning to our lives. Girls and women become bat mitzvah, reading and teaching Torah alongside boys and men. Our youth come of age steeped in the values of social action and active caring for the natural world. Our synagogue builds houses for the poor, feeds the hungry and meets other communities, engaged in the city around us. We pray from a siddur that speaks our language. We use new technology to share ideas and form community. Through all of these we find a Judaism that enriches us.
Beth Shalom is looking to the future, and we ask you to dream with us. We’re beginning two major projects this month, both of which will ensure that our future is as vibrant and as strong as our past.
We are launching a Bequest Campaign, asking our members and supporters to include Beth Shalom in their wills. Subscriptions comprise Beth Shalom’s operating budget, covering our basic needs. But they do not allow for the big, exciting projects—like sending kids to Israel, employing a Youth Director, hosting guest speakers and master classes, offering youth retreats, renovating the building, housing our Israeli sh’lichim, or supporting a permanent full-time rabbi. These are what make synagogue life dynamic and alive.
Many members are “maxed out” and unable to make significant contributions—especially in difficult financial times. Remembering Beth Shalom in your estate doesn’t impact your financial security but does allow the community to do the wonderful, enriching things we just aren’t able to now. Some bequests will be modest and others lavish, but together they will allow us—and Progressive Judaism— to flourish. What a beautiful legacy.
We’re holding an event to discuss Bequest Giving on Sunday, 7 November at 2.30pm. Beth Shalom is a magnificent place, and it deserves to be both protected and nurtured. Please come and hear how you can help; RSVP for catering purposes.
We are also contemplating a rejuvenation of our sanctuary. The site of so many simchas, it hasn’t been updated in over 20 years and is, frankly, tired, faded and more than a bit uncomfortable. Although it meets our basic needs, it no longer inspires or uplifts—and that’s what we want to feel in our praying place. A team of dedicated members has been considering ways to freshen and brighten the room, to make it more inviting and alive.
We want the community’s input and support! The Interiors Team (Helen Schamroth, John Pezaro, Judith Hunt and Alison Dyson) invite you to hear their ideas, see some preliminary drawings, and express your wishes and concerns. Join us for an informal show-and-tell and discussion on Sunday, 7 November, at 4.15pm PM, following the earlier session on Bequests. Come imagine with us.
It may seem that these two projects are contradictory. How can we refurbish our sanctuary if we are in need of money? The answer is several- fold:
1. We are not in need of money to meet our basic operating expenses. Our budget will support a portion of the refurbishment, too. Bequests will allow us to do and be more, and will ensure against future decline.
2. The rejuvenation project is designed to be staged—we can make an improvement, then wait until we have sufficient funds to cover the next upgrade. It may take us longer to achieve the space we desire, but it must be financially appropriate.
3. A more attractive sanctuary will inspire and uplift us. It will shift the way we see ourselves, and also how others see us. It is not simply an expense, but rather an investment in Beth Shalom’s future.
These are initiatives for the whole community, and we want to explain them to you and gather your input. We’ll have a series of conversations in coming weeks, and all are invited.
There will be another opportunity to discuss the sanctuary rejuvenation project at the Family Camp. I hope you’ll be there!
These are important initiatives for Beth Shalom, and it’s appropriate that we’re cautious about them. Please come to the meetings to share your hopes and concerns, and also feel free to discuss them with me.
The Jews have endured because we have considered not only the past but also the future. This is the moment for us to consider the future of the Progressive Jewish Community of Auckland.