One year ago our precious community was gearing up for the fight of its life. And, thanks to the accumulated wisdom of leaders spanning our 23-year history as a shul, we are surely and steadily fighting that good fight to ensure the future of Netivot Shalom. Institutional stability is not the "why" for which our community was created, nor is it the reason more and more people are finding a home at Netivot Shalom. We are a holy place full of holy people, each one doing their part in laying one more brick on the "Paths of Peace" for which we named. Netivot Shalom's "why" is, will be, and always has been too inspiring for words.
I sit in my office this Erev Shabbat to write this message as I prepare for a vacation until July 19th (though I will be here for Shabbatot and available in case of emergency). This August, I will be participating in the American Jewish World Service Rabbis' Mission to Ghana, about which I will write at a later point.
But for now, I share a few reflections upon the year past, as we end a "typical" CNS week of 2 weddings, 2 losses, 1 engagement, Preschool camp, a magical Bar Mitzvah and we prepare to celebrate of our treasured teacher Cathy Shadd Rosenfeld this Shabbat.
This past year we hosted Soulfarm, Trout Fishing, Anat Hoffman, Ruth Messinger, David Mamet, Jay Mic
haelson, Rabbi Or Rose, Rabbi Gail Diamond, Professor Arie Dubnov, and many other incredible speakers, bands, and events.
But more than that, this past year we took care of each other, exemplifying the Mitzvot for which there is no limit, including Bikkur Cholim, Gemilut Chasadim, Chevrah Kaddisha, and more.
This past year we galvanized our entire community with a Yom Kippur Appeal that raised 10X as much as the previous year's and provided our operating budget the necessary room to address the over-arching concern of the shul's mortgage.
This past year we published "Paths of Torah", a groundbreaking collection of Torah commentaries by members of Netivot Shalom. It has not only brought us national acclaim but also a small, steady stream of revenue to support our work.
This past year we "graduated" our fifth class of CNS Preschoolers, supporting their future learning with a solid base of experiential, emergent Jewish learning.
This past year we launched the ongoing Capital Campaign to save our shul. It is aimed at providing Netivot Shalom with enough fiscal strength to refinance our current (unsustainable) mortgage. With your support and positive response to the Capital Campaign team, we will make that necessary goal a reality.
Chevreh, if this was all we'd accomplished this past year, Dayennu/it would be enough. But, please God, may we never feel satisfied. We have much work to do on the Capital Campaign (our "how") before we can feel truly safe being and becoming the sacred Jewish home known to the world as Netivot Shalom. But we will get there. We can't not. We must, and we will. Our sacred "why" matters too much to allow any other outcome.
May we go from strength to strength, recharging ourselves along the way so that we can be ready to do the work ahead.