Hello, my name is Allison Gould and I am one of the new members of the Board of Directors of the WJC. Like many of you, my first experience with the WJC was at high holiday services under the tent, on this spot, surrounded by these woods. I will never forget the awe that I felt as I stood among hundreds of people swaying arm in arm and singing and praying with such full and open hearts. It felt somehow so unique and also so familiar, like something I’d been seeking but already had in my heart. It felt like a place I wanted to return to and get to know more deeply; like a place where my family could put down some roots and grow. For the past thirteen years, that is what we have done.
I imagine that you, too, might feel inspired by all that arises on these days of awe. You, too, may be curious to know what else happens in this sacred space. You too might be eager to connect more deeply or renew your commitment to the WJC. Whether it’s your first time under the tent or you’ve been coming for years; whether you come from nearby or far away; whether you’re here in person or on Zoom, there is a place for you here.
The vitality of the WJC is dependent on its reciprocal relationship with its community members; a constant flow of giving and getting. There are so many ways to partake in this exchange and I’d like to highlight some of the most impactful.
First and most significantly, please give of your presence. It is amazing to see so many of you under this glorious tent, which has been a fixture of our congregation from its inception. This temporary sanctuary will go away in a few days, but this land and our beautiful building remain. Bring to it your presence. This remarkable clergy team is here all year, leading Shabbat services, holidays and days of remembrance. Come, you are welcome. Throughout each week, there are classes, discussions and groups to join. There is a family school program for children from birth to B’Mitzvah. Throughout the months, there are celebrations, meetings, art shows and special events. Come, you are welcome. Be present not only because of all these is to experience, but because your presence itself is a contribution to our community and a meaningful way to give.
Additionally, consider giving of your skills. You may have a talent or expertise that can benefit our mission, work, and bottom line. Maybe you’re a carpenter, tech expert, graphic designer, scholar, writer, baker or gardener. We need help with so many things. Our staff is small, our property is large, our programming is robust and our needs are ongoing. If you feel called to serve, please, contribute your unique and wonderous gifts.
You may not be sure of exactly how you can give of yourself. Start with giving your time. There is a role for you. There are many people at the WJC who have been giving their time and talent from the very beginning. These amazing folks continue to serve on committees, greet congregants on Shabbat, teach classes, prep food for kiddush, support grieving congregants, reach out to new members, and this list goes on. We would not be who we are or where we are without them, AND, we need you to join them. A new generation of helpers and leaders is already rising to the occasion. Please be a part of it, you are needed.
And yes, in whatever way is possible for you, please, give of your resources. These are challenging times and many of us are regularly making choices about where to allocate our hard-earned income. How ever you are able, please, allocate what you can to the WJC. Our clergy team, staff, lay leaders, volunteers and community members can do amazing things, but at the end of the day, most of those things cost money. Our financial resources are a beautiful melding of the smallest and largest donations and everything in between. Please give what you can.
This year’s theme for the High Holidays is Aleinu: It’s on Us. Indeed, it’s on each of us to give of our presence, time, talent, and resources with full hearts. It is all of the ways that you contribute that keeps us going. There is so much good to share in and support here. Bring yourself to any or all of it. You are always and continually welcome.
G’Mar Chatima Tova