I treasure Congregation Rodef Sholom’s commitment to the local and world community. As an atheist Jew, I gain tremendous spiritual fulfillment participating in the Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam. I have had the pleasure of traveling to New Orleans with Rodef Sholom teens, becoming an integral part of reconstructing homes and making a difference in the lives of complete strangers. I’ve raised funds for the women’s clinic in Darfur, participated in multiple Mitzvah Days, am an active member of the Marin Organizing Committee (MOC), and the newly organized Tzedek Circles. Rodef Sholom provides myriad opportunities at any given time. Each time I “give”, the rewards never cease to amaze me. Aside from the great feeling of helping those in need, I have made friends, paved the way for others, and learned so much.
Our membership commitment contributes to all of these areas and so much more: our subsidized summer camp program (SEEDS) for our young people, comfort for the sick and disabled, and of course, religious and spiritual learning for thousands of our community members. These programs are only possible if sustaining membership levels are received each year.
The economy has had a tremendous impact on many of our congregational families, yet the synagogue continues to support every family, no matter their ability to pay. My wife, Amy & I, have had the firsthand experience of being welcomed into this community even when we could barely pay dues.
After a 12-year career, my employer was acquired by an out-of-state corporation. Not wanting to leave our community, I found myself unemployed on the eve of September 11, 2001. What would have been a relatively short disruption in our earnings turned into a prolonged and painful experience. Our family found great comfort in Rodef Sholom and has never felt the least bit frowned upon for not being able to pay the full sustaining membership. We have since been very fortunate and rebuilt our economic security. We are now thrilled to be able to “pay it forward” by increasing our commitment to help cover those who are not currently able to pay sustaining level.
Our congregation is approaching a crossroads. We are seeing a shift in membership giving and that has challenged us to remain the community we want to be. We all make tough decisions of where to donate our money; I ask each family that is financially able to think of their fellow congregant and consider sponsoring a second membership to cover those less fortunate, to join the Keter Circle (a total combination of $10,000 or more in annual gifts) or to provide a financial endowment to support one of these programs in perpetuity. You can even do this through the Annual Tradition of Giving campaign that began last month.
In the meantime, as Treasurer, I will work closely with our Board, Executive Team and clergy to ensure we appropriate funds in a wise and purposeful manner, while continuing to keep a focus on the spirit of Tikkun Olam.
To find out how you can contribute, please contact Jane Friedman, development director, at 479.3441.