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June Message

06/18/2015 01:08:24 PM

Jun18

Dear Beth Am Family,
 
           When we think of unintended consequences, we usually think of the negative ramifications that happen when we take certain steps. However, there can be positive unintended consequences to certain actions, as well.
           Year after year, people join our congregation, mostly to meet their particular needs. People are members of our community because they want to educate their children, celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or have a place where they can say Kaddish for a loved one. Hopefully, we are fulfilling those needs. But did you ever think that because of your choice to be connected to our community, there are important and essential unintended consequences that help make Temple Beth Am a place that it is not only for your family but for all of the families in the Jewish community in and around Yorktown. I wanted to take just a few moments to help you see just what some of those unintended consequences are for our community.
            One fabulous example is our monthly "Welcoming Shabbat" program. Because of your generous commitment to our community, members and non-members with little tots gather on a monthly basis to sing and move with me and Ellen. Babies to first-graders come with their parents for their first experiences with Jewish holidays and Shabbat. Because of your affiliation, these families get to take their first steps into the Jewish world. It is absolutely a beautiful thing to see young couples with their little babies show up to dance, sing, and learn about their Jewish heritage. That experience is happening because of you.
            Another unintended consequence of your membership is the ability for our High School students to experience one of the best high school programs in upper Northern Westchester. We call it "Chai School.” Nowhere else in the area are there almost 30 teens showing up every Thursday evening to learn about leadership, Judaism, and a plethora of other topics that expand their creative minds. Our post-Bar & Bat Mitzvah students are taking away Jewish experiences that will solidify their Jewish identities for decades to come. Your own children may have aged out of our program, but your generous commitment enables Jewish continuity to be engendered in the next generation.
            Lastly, we cannot forget the unintended consequence of helping our adult population. Many incorrectly feel that the synagogue is a place only for the young. On the contrary, the synagogue is a place for the entire community, regardless of age. This is exemplified in the following example. This past year, twice a month, approximately 30 adults gathered to drink some wine, engage in conversation, and expand their thinking on a variety of topics that affected them. While I guided them, "Wine With Weiner” provided an outlet for our adult community to engage in serious conversations about serious issues. Because of you, Life Long Learning is more than just a concept; it is a reality at Beth Am.
            Many people join congregations because of their own particular needs. However, Beth Am is more than just about fulfilling the needs of a particular congregant. We are about Jewish continuity, Jewish education, and Jewish culture. Because of your connection to our community, you enabled, intentionally or unintentionally, grander goals like continuity and heritage. I want to thank you and the Jewish community thanks you for your continued support.
 
Have a wonderful summer and see you in the fall,
 
Rabbi Robbie
 
 
         Your Support Affecting Our Youngest Jews During Welcoming Shabbat
Your Support Enabling Continuity In Our Amazing Post-Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program (Chai School)
 
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