September 30, 2009
These past few days have been some of the most significant days in the history of our Congregation, making this past Yom Kippur one of the most meaningful ever.
When a section of our Sanctuary ceiling fell, in the same week that we were visited by the Westboro Baptist Church hate group, one had to wonder what tests God truly had in store for Congregation Beth Elohim!
And perhaps, through these experiences, we were meant to learn that our Congregation is truly blessed by extraordinary leaders, a generous and loving community, and faithful and stalwart neighbors who stand by us in times of trouble.
Thank you first of all to Reverend Daniel Meeter and the leadership at Old First Reformed Church. Opening up their worship space to us on Sunday and Monday was an enormous act of faith and generosity that we will never forget. True practitioners of God's command to "love your neighbor as yourself," Reverend Meeter and the Old First community demonstrated a powerful act of friendship. Thank you.
Thanks are also in order to our lay leaders, professional staff, and numerous volunteers who made the transition to Old First and back again as smooth as possible and as result made for a warm and meaningful worship experience. As one part of our physical structure was rendered unusable, we were reminded of how vital, deep and precious our human infrastructure is. We are truly a community of members and each and every one of you made this Yom Kippur so special. Participants in all our services: Main Sanctuary, Yachad Family Service, Tots and Brooklyn Jews--more than 2000 people were able to worship on this holiest day of the year and each was able to do so with a depth of intent and experience that will be felt for months to come.
We wanted to bring you up to date on the state of the situation with our Main Sanctuary.
As you know, a large piece of the Main Sanctuary ceiling above the middle of the Balcony fell on Wednesday evening, revealing what will surely be a long process of repair and restoration. Our Congregation's Executive Committee will be meeting in Emergency Session on Thursday evening to develop a plan for immediate next steps. The Congregation's Board of Trustees will be meeting on October 5th to further discuss our steps going forward.
As we begin this process, we do so buoyed by the overwhelming support of our membership, our neighbors, the broader New York City civic and religious community, and by phone calls and emails from across the country. This is an incalculable blessing. As we begin to move toward celebrating our 150th Anniversary as a Congregation, we do so with the eyes of the city upon us and we are determined to make our celebration and restoration a source of pride for each and every one
We look forward to traveling on this journey of celebration and restoration together. At this time, we urge you to take action by making your generous donation today to the Yom Kippur Appeal, which will enable us to move quickly to take our first steps towards our Sanctuary's restoration. To donate online, please click here.
May each of you be blessed in the year ahead with abundant goodness, well-being and peace.
Rabbi Andy Bachman
Elana Paru, Executive Director
David Kasakove, President