The True Meaning of this Hour!
From the Heart
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor
We – all of us in any way connected to Temple Beth-El – have lived through a storm. It brought discomfort, upset, dissension and contention. I hope that that is now over. While voices were raised at the Annual meeting for me to speak publicly, except for my D'var Torah, I intentionally refrained. Despite how much I really had to say, first and foremost, this was a decision about the synagogue. In vivid retrospect, this has been a forty year journey for the synagogue. It began in 1970. Many things have been delayed, others ignored, because the future was so insecure. Over the years I have tried mightily, but it is awfully difficult to implement any plan, any vision, with such instability which then engendered financial insecurity. Like the Israelites of the wilderness after Mt. Sinai, the camp was always perched to move, even when it didn't. It was hard for them. It was hard for us. I hope and pray that a healthier, stronger, more vital congregation will now be able to emerge.
Many things have been said about our current condition. The only thing that was certain was the financial data. The discussions were terribly uninformed of the dynamics that are buffeting the entire American Jewish community. While the Conservative Movement has been significantly affected, which means our synagogue, too, these are trends and forces created by the course of our history and affect us coast to coast and beyond. They are greater than us and will not yield to a simple change of address or page number. In the microcosm, here in Richmond we are part of an epic struggle, different in detail but not in scope. We are challenged to preserve, enhance and sustain Judaism and the Jewish people!! This is the true meaning of this hour!
I summon the members of this congregation to rise to the occasion, engage in the true existential test: to create, to have the desire, to manifest the will, to be a dynamic, participating meaningful synagogue community, a true kehillah!! Not just names on a computer generated mailing list for dues statements or a disembodied listserv of binary digits, but a living, breathing, interacting religious community that is meaningful to ourselves and which we then exhibit, model and endear to our children.
The vote at the annual meeting will have no meaning if you sit on the sidelines! No matter where you live in the greater Richmond area, everyone seems to travel the necessary distance if it is important enough. The true meaning of this hour is that history is looking at us, Jewish and non-Jewish, to be actively participatory with our Jewish tradition, our people Am Yisrael, our language Hebrew, and our entire culture. From the past we have received our history. Let us unite in the enterprise to insure our destiny. Join me in having the courage to have the strength to go forward in our journey!