From TBT President Jeanne Freeman

The vision for Temple Beth Tikvah is for a community that is connected, each one to the other, by our Jewish values. A place to celebrate Judaism for children, and families, and singles, and couples, young and old and everyone in between.

Our synagogue can be a place where we connect to something larger than ourselves, to more than our community, to ideas that can transform our world, and to new and transcendent experience. Our Judaism should be meaningful and relevant; it should challenge our mind and soul.

For that vision to succeed, we need each one of you to share in the vision. The secret to converting vision into reality is to make it happen through our human connection. It's about more than what you do, it is who you do it with, how you interact, how you connect.

I hear the questions, "Why should I belong to Temple Beth Tikvah? What does a synagogue offer me, and my family?" As one who has asked those same questions, I have some thoughts on the pros and cons of membership.

First, let me share the pros to TBT membership with you.

  • You have a rabbi on call when you need one. For celebrations and at times of crisis. For counsel, support and guidance. And she knows and cares for you and your family.
  • You have a community. You may not love everything about the community, or everyone in the community, but it is your community. It is your opportunity for lifelong friendships with people who have your shared Jewish values.
  • Your community cares about you. They will sing and dance in celebration with you, they will feed you, drive you and care for you in sickness, and they will mourn with you.
  • You have a place for your children to learn about their history, their Judaism. To create friendships with a Jewish peer group. To celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvah. To learn about Jewish values and about Tzedakah.
  • You have a place to use your talents as a volunteer with adults and with children. In large and small ways - whether chairing a committee or handing out prayer books. Helping in the Religious School or baking for an adult ed program. Playing an instrument or sharing your knowledge.
  • You can grow spiritually and intellectually; enrich your Jewish identity, engage in meaningful acts of social justice.
  • You have a minyan with whom to pray and to sing. Musical Shabbats, Kabbalat Shabbats, Shabbat Torah Service.
  • You have a community with whom to learn. About Judaism. About Torah. About Jewish values.
  • You have a community with whom to play. Mahjong. Book clubs. Skiing.
  • And by supporting your synagogue, Temple Beth Tikvah, you contribute to the future of Judaism and the knowledge and wisdom it has brought us. You support our combined voices speaking for Jewish values.

To be fair, there are cons to synagogue membership.

  • It costs money. Having our rabbi available always. Renting facilities. Paying musicians. Ritual celebrations. But if money is tight, talk with our treasurer about reduced dues. Don't let money keep you away.
  • Sometimes there is conflict. Not everyone is your best friend. But some people are. And we can learn even in conflict how to disagree with respect, how to listen to the stories of others.
  • You are asked to donate, to volunteer, to help, to bake, to participate. But you are free to say, "No," though we hope that sometimes you will say, "Yes."
  • You don't agree with the decisions that are made or the way that things are done. But we are small and you can raise your voice to help change the way that we do things.

Membership in Temple Beth Tikvah isn't cheap. It costs money, time and heart. Sometimes it is aggravating. But the pros far outweigh the cons. And if we do not support our synagogue, then when we need our synagogue, it won't be there for us.

It is our connection to each other that makes Temple Beth Tikvah our connection to Judaism.