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Serving the Needs of the Community

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Rabbi Yitzhak, January/February 2012

In recent years it has become the custom at TBI to begin committee, staff and board meetings with a blessing, “Blessed is the Eternal One our G-d sovereign of all, who sanctifies us through the mitzvot and has given us the mitzvah to serve the needs of the community.” After the prayer is spoken and a sense of higher purpose has been invoked, the participants turn to the hard work of addressing the various needs of our community.

Whether the blessing is uttered at the beginning of a meeting of the Tzedakah V’Chesed committee, concerned with responding to the needs of those who have fallen upon difficult times, or to open a meeting of the office staff that seeks to operate as an efficient and effective team at the core of daily operations, or at the start of a meeting of the Board of Trustees, our volunteer leaders charged with oversight for the entire organization, holding a vision for our community, supporting our programs and carrying the responsibility for our fiscal well-being, the blessing is spoken with sincerity, and calls us all to work together with a sense of high and sacred purpose. We are fortunate to have our lives enriched by these opportunities to serve.

Even though there is great personal reward for participating so actively as volunteers, I am often concerned for those who have stepped forward to carry so much responsibility for our communal well- being. I know that they find meaning and fulfillment through much that they do, and the doing of a mitzvah is its own reward. At the same time, I see their need for much broader communal support and participation in carrying the load. It has been of particular concern to see their stress and strain as they put forth a great effort to put our financial house in order so that we can meet our needs and continue to thrive as we have so beautifully over the years. I am moved as I witness the dedication of these volunteers who have demanding jobs and family responsibilities as well their volunteer activities at TBI. Yet somehow, they find the time to contribute their energy to building and maintaining our sacred community.

Their service is a remarkable and generous gift from the heart. I urge you to be generously responsive in every way to their requests for your participation and invitations to support the community through giving your time and your financial resources when called upon. Better yet, don’t wait to be called upon. Step forward and call our board and staff leadership and make known your willingness to do what you can to build this community.

It is essential that we all understand that no one will build our community beside us – all of us together with the help of G-d. It is an error in thinking to consider membership in a sacred community as no more than a purchase of services. Sacred communities are built upon a covenantal sense of shared responsibility for shared values and not on a sense of a fee-for-services type of relationship. We have many challenges to meet and they are well worth meeting. Together we have created a very beautiful and vibrant community and together we must continue to care for its well-being and flourishing. May we each enjoy the sweet joy that comes from fulfilling the mitzvah, La-asok B’tzorchei Tzibbur, to serve the needs of our community.

Rabbi Yitzhak

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