Yom Rivii, 20 Av 5779
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Spare a thought Sept-Oct 2015 PDF Print E-mail

AS WE SPEED swiftly towards our High Holy Days, I wonder if during our hours of communal spiritual refreshment we could give some consideration to the near 40 chairs of our Liberal congregations who would have probably spent days preparing what, for many of them, is the most important speech of their synagogue year.

For some, including me, to stand on the Bimah in front of fellow congregants and friends is a daunting experience, while for others public speaking doesn’t cause even the slightest concern. But the one thing they all have in common is a desire to give a heartfelt and passionate appeal, not just for money to be donated to worthy and deserving charities, but also for everyone to give more of themselves. For the vast majority of our communities the day to day functions and maintenance falls on the shoulders of a small number of willing helpers. In my experience, all of these volunteers are busy, hardworking people with either full time commitments to their work or their families, or possibly even both. None the less, they still find the capacity in their busy lives to work for their extended family.

Ask any of these unsung heroes “why do you give yourself this extra burden” and I’m reasonably sure in most cases they won’t be able to give you a definitive answer. Our commitment to our communal Jewish homes is for many of us part of our DNA. It can’t be defined or labelled but for some reason it makes us who we are. Its gives the individual as much in the way of fulfilment, as they hope it gives to their congregation and its members. Where would we be without these stalwart members - selfless individuals organising and supporting without (much) complaint or expectation of praise? The answers are easy. Liberal Judaism wouldn’t be where it is today at the forefront of Progressive British Jewish life. Our inspirational Rabbis would not be able to lead us through our Jewish journeys. The Board of National Officers would have little value. This year when you hear the annual appeal from the Bimah maybe, just maybe, make the commitment to play your part in the future of Liberal Judaism in the UK. Chag Sameach!