During the morning and afternoon of Yom Kippur, I shared with the congregation my thanks for the many ways people contributed to making our High Holy Days wonderful and meaningful. One can never express gratitude too often. I would like to express my thanks a second time in print form:
A teacher of mine once said that Jewish prayer consists of two primary actions: Bakashot and Hoda’ot – asking God for certain blessings and expressing thanks for the blessings in our lives. On this Yom Kippur, I want to express Hoda’ot – gratitude for the many people who have given their time, energy, and commitment to making our High Holy Day services at Temple Beth Torah meaningful and uplifting.
My thanks go first to Jill Ziman, my friend and our extraordinarily capable Temple Administrator. Few have any idea of how complicated it is to have everything in place for Yuntiff, but Jill knows exactly what needs to be done and she does so not only with great efficiency, but with dedication and spirit. As a congregation, we are incredibly fortunate to have her.
I want to thank Michelle Eisenbruck who continues to volunteer her service to our synagogue as choir coordinator. She arranged for the return of our sterling trio of Heather Klein, Mary Stocker, and Amy Belles. Michelle met with me back in June to review the music for our High Holy Day services. She communicates the order to the choir and organizes the rehearsals. Thanks Michelle for all you do!
Speaking of our Adult Choir, I want to thank all of you. When I first came to Temple Beth Torah I thought it was my job to come to your rehearsals and offer some nugget of wisdom that was suppose to inspire you. However, I have since learned that the reverse is true. There were a number of times in the last months that I came to a rehearsal not to inspire you, but so that I could be inspired by your singing, your energy and enthusiasm and your laughter. You uplift me – as you have our congregation throughout these Days of Awe.
Heather, Mary, and Amy – I want to thank each of you for what you offer our congregation. We are indeed enormously grateful to have you as our cantorial soloist, choir director, and pianist. Heather, your singing continues to move us. Your beautiful voice, your passion and spirit, lift our prayers heavenward. Mary, you are like a master gardener tending to our choir. You nourish them with your skill and knowledge and it is a joy to hear them blossom under your leadership. Last, but certainly not last, Amy, it’s hard to believe this is your fifth year with us. Time has flown. You are so extraordinarily expressive, light and delicate at times; strong and powerful at others; listening to you play piano is a continuing revelation.
This Yom Kippur, I want to express my gratitude to Verrona Gore. Among Verrona’s many fine attributes is that she is incredibly well organized. She wrote her address for this night of Yom Kippur back in August, before the school year begun. In this, her second year as president of the congregation, we continue to benefit from her leadership and devotion to our community.
I want to thank, Susan Schwartz, Vice President for Member Services and Phoebe Weiner, chair of the Worship Committee for overseeing our High Holy Days preparations, along with members of the Worship Committee. My thanks to Cheryl Cohen, who has been an inspiration to our youngsters for many years and who leads our Young Children’s services on the afternoons of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Speaking of teachers, I want to express my appreciation to Student Rabbi Stacy Petersohn for all she’s contributed during these High Holy Days. Knowing she would be home with us this Yuntiff, I contacted Stacy before Rosh Hashanah to see if she wanted to offer rabbinic leadership during the High Holy Days. She immediately replied, “Sure. No problem.” Todah Rabbah Stacy for your wonderful Divrei Torah and for the study session Yom Kippur afternoon.
I want to express my thanks to Michele Berke for interpreting our Yuntiff services. We are all so grateful to you because you enable Jewish members of our deaf community to feel included in our services
There are many others who contribute to our High Holy Days: Jamie Cohen and Rin Ehrlich, our splendid shofar blowers, as well as our ushers and greeters and Oneg providers. Special thanks to Elliot Broadwin for arranging for our new sound system. It is working very well and for this I am very grateful. Thank you to Dan Strauss who, along with Elliot, and their sons, Michael and Mitchell, as well as George Provol, took care of repairs both inside and out.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my wife Eve for her support before and during these Days of Awe. In particular, I am grateful for her review of my sermons prior to my sharing them with all of you. After reading a draft, she uses baseball metaphors to let me know whether I’ve struck out or reached base. I am very glad to know we play for the same team.
To one and all, Todah Rabbah. Thank you.