Building Our Sukkat Shalom
Eric Imley & Gale Swartz, Co-Presidents
One of our personal favorite holidays is Sukkot, and as TBE celebrates this every year with our annual ‘new member dinner’ and services in the courtyard, we will focus this month’s article on building our community. Much is made of the fact that membership growth needs to be at the core of every congregation. While increasing membership is essential, it is our sense of family and community that holds us together and attracts others to come be part of it. This leads us to the questions: what will bind us together in 5778? What is the essence that draws us and others to this beautiful community?
We like to think a lot about welcoming the Jewish families who are new to our community. However, we also need to enhance the essence of our core and welcome new members who will add new threads and vibrant colors to the tapestry we are weaving. This is only one reason the new member dinner is so important. It recharges all of us and helps us refocus on experiences that help us feel incredibly close to this wonderful place. How do we add to those experiences and create other opportunities to deepen our spiritual and communal connections?
Meeting potential new members instills a feeling of hope and excitement. How will they add their vibrancy to the community? How will their threads give new meaning? These are some of many possible reasons we open our hearts and arms to new members. The threads they bring to the tapestry will certainly enrich us all.
We bring a new perspective to the ways we fulﬁll TBE’s community mission. We don’t yet know how that may materialize. It could be through acts of tikkun olam—Social Action, or a chance conversation in the Mo-adon, or a chat before services that changes a perspective or brightens someone’s day. It is our holy privilege to bring people in, not only to expand the shelter our congregation oﬀers, but also for the chance to have our own lives enriched by the warmth we feel when wrapped in the tapestry that is our community.
Let’s make a commitment to hold onto the Sukkat Shalom— Sukkah of Peace, we create at this time of year. Let’s help make it a sacred shelter on our journey throughout the year. This is our wish for the entire TBE family—our own community of peace.