It is now July, winter has changed to spring, spring has changed to summer and we are all off to vacations, enjoying leisure activities, planning household projects with our work obligations, family obligations and for some of us, running the children every which way and then some – all in these few weeks before fall. These are the familiar changes of our season. Less familiar are the changes delivered by the fall election, a country divided, friends and relatives finding common ground and the news fulminating with the turmoil of our times. Places to commune, practice peace and find comfort are important and our Temple is one of those places. Of all the changes, the one I am most aware of at this moment, is the transition of the role of President of the Board from Andi Russell to me. This comes at a time of lower membership and budgetary constraints. The Temple rose on a bed of hopes with a new rabbi 3 years ago but members retired, some moved and a few followed the call to other connections and plans directing their futures; new members are needed and budgets had to be balanced. July is the month for our last service with Rabbi Grossman, but it is the first month for me and future planning by the Board, to work toward revitalizing our Temple.
As Andi takes a deep breath and steps into the role of Past President, I will be dependent on her accumulated knowledge, experience and wisdom as well as that of Ira Beckerman, the past Past President. I will be sad to see Rabbi Grossman go, but happy for the friendship we forged and anxious for what the future holds. Our congregational children grow up, challenge traditions and go to other places. We are still here to expand our TBS family, not by these wandering generations, but by welcoming new members. Communities have historically been sustained by tradition and stable populations, but times have changed and the people around us are moving and changing. In the established communities around us similar struggles with sustaining numbers are familiar soul mates, but our numbers are smaller so every loss is proportionally larger. It is through the generalized migrations around the country that many will land in Harrisburg, but we are also home to immigrants and refugees that come to the area. Jews of all backgrounds with all combinations of family orientations have been welcome at our doors and it is through this tradition that our numbers may grow.
In a new world with new technologies we have new possibilities to keep our TBS community connected and visible for others to see. We recently engaged Rachel Rudnick to keep us active on Facebook and update our website and also to help us promote our ideas for activities, promotions and fundraising. If anyone has any ideas or wants to join a committee think-a-thon moving forward please feel free to let me know.
Enjoy the summer and come on July 14th and 15th as Rabbi Grossman conducts his final services for TBS.