I was at a wonderful meeting last week. The Social Action Committee, organized a meeting, under the direction of Barbara Gabriel, with Sherin Hussien from the Cross Cultural Learner Centre to address how we could help with the Syrian refugees.
There were 35 volunteers there, including Hannah and Lillian Shmukler. Ailene introduced Sherin. They have worked together before and clearly have a warm and supportive working relationship. Sherin began by telling us about herself and asking each of us to say our name and why we were there. It was a feel-good experience for me as I heard individuals talk about our Jewish values, the immigrant experience in their own families, and the skills they could offer. I was certainly proud to be a member of the Jewish Community and especially Temple Israel. Big thank-yous to Barbara and the others who made this an exceptional experience, as well as Lisa Faden and Nancy Davis who head our Social Action Committee and made it the vibrant success that it is.
I have, of course, been grateful for all of the other volunteer work at the Temple. The majority of our members make a contribution of their time. It goes without saying that the Temple could not function without the increase in dues contributions this year, but we are a volunteer organization that could not survive without the human contributions. Our potluck Kiddush and Oneg efforts have been very successful and we have had a delightful social time with those who attend services or Torah study.
Soon you will be asked to make your dues pledge for next year. I hope you will think of Temple Israel first because we need you. In addition, as you make your plans for next year, I hope more of you will set aside some time to volunteer to be on a committee, or make latkes, or supervise an Oneg, or sing in the choir, or stuff envelopes, or attend the General Meeting, or do what you can to support the Temple. With our Rabbi’s spiritual and intellectual leadership, and the dedication of our membership, Temple Israel is a very special place.
I thank you for all you give and encourage you to continue your participation
This is just a heads-up about two new policies that the Board has passed. One is a Respect Policy which we have worked on for a year under the excellent leadership of Barbara Lent. All organizations need to have a policy of this kind today, especially, when a school is involved, to state behavioural expectations and to protect employees in the workplace. From my reading of URJ material, I believe there is a thrust from the leadership to deal with the respect issues as an organizational value. As a matter of fact, we used documents from other Temples as part of our work.
The Temple needs to be a safe place for all and we felt as a Board, that we needed to take responsibility. Barbara will be presenting this to you in more detail at the General Meeting.
As my two years come to an end, I am quite pleased with some of our accomplishments. I am grateful for all the help I have had from Board members as well as support staff: Fay, Gerry, Linda, Margie, Jennifer, Svetlana, Ira, and Sergio; appreciative of those who helped in our time of crisis: Stephen State, Jeff Phillips, and Bob Solomon; impressed with the dedication of our members; and thankful for the opportunity to work with our own Rabbi Debra.
With your continued support, Temple Israel will continue to provide an active, caring, spiritual home for the Reform Jewish community in London.