Head • Heart • Hands • Soul
August 2017 – Av 5777
If you had a billion dollars to invest in a worthy cause, what worthy cause would you invest in?
That question was the heart of a provocative column by David Brooks in the New York Times entitled Giving Away Your Billion. Brooks was discussing a number of inspiring philanthropists who had joined Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge. And then, in a modern riff on Tevya, he asks: “What would I do if I had a billion bucks to use for good?” His answer:
Only loving relationships transform lives, and such relationships can be formed only in small groups. Thus, I’d use my imaginary billion to seed 25-person collectives around the country. A collective would be a group of people who met once a week to share and discuss life.
Brooks’ small community would focus on four key things: heart (“nurturing deep friendships”), hands (“small tasks of service…for one another”), head (“help members come up with their own life philosophies”) and soul (“In a busy world, members would discuss fundamental issues of life’s purpose”).
What Brooks is describing happens at Temple Emanuel literally every day. There are a thousand examples, we will just share one. Recently a mother of two young children wrote an unsolicited letter in which she observed:
I just want you to know how much we love Temple Emanuel, and how much we feel that it is a vital part of our lives. I can’t even begin to tell you how important the Friday evening Chapel service is to all of us. [My daughter] said it best one icy cold Friday evening—she said “Mom, I know it was freezing outside, but as soon as I walked into the Chapel it made me feel warm all over.” We love the small community, the singing, the praying, and the warmth of the service. We love how going to shul lets us put everything else going on in our lives on hold, so that we can have a second to take a deep breath and just relax. We love how the community has embraced our family, and made our kids feel confident enough to stand up in front of the congregation and lead Ashrei.
So I just want to say thank you. I am confident that as my kids get older, Temple Emanuel will continue to be a vital part of our lives in so many ways…See you at Shul tonight.
The good news is that what Brooks is talking about already exists. And it does not cost a billion dollars. It does, however, require our Annual Appeal which sustains us and provides 27% of our annual budget. Please give as generously as you can so that we can continue to change lives through the power of a loving community that touches the heart, hands, head and soul of each of our members.
Shanah tovah u’metukah,
Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz
Stuart Cole, President
Amy B. Klein, Co-Chair of Annual Appeal
Adam Suttin, Co-Chair of Annual Appeal
We invite you to to view our Annual Report!