Yom Kippur Appeal — 5774

September 15, 2013
By bethmordecai
no comments.

Yom Kippur Appeal — 5774

The moment you have all been anxiously waiting for is finally here. . . . the president’s appeal!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Norman Silverstein and I am the president of our Temple.

I would like to welcome all our members and all our guests and wish you a Shana Tova.  This is my first year making the president’s appeal, because for the last 3 years it was given by our former president, Michael Gast, who has shown great dedication and leadership at our Temple, but as I have said, this year it’s my turn.

Let me ask you 2 simple questions

First Question

1)     Why are YOU here? Maybe it’s Obligation, maybe like fiddler on the roof it’s tradition-tradition , maybe religious belief, maybe your mother told you to go, perhaps it is your 1 day a year that you attend Temple? I don’t think you are here for the Kiddush, because if it is, then I’m sorry but you picked the wrong day (it’s a fast day, come back on a Shabbat morning for bagels and lox) For me personally, this is a day when I look into a spiritual mirror and I reflect on my behavior of this past year and I try to make changes for the upcoming year, and I am also grateful to G-d for the blessings of health and happiness which  I received this past year. 

Second question

2)     Why are you HERE? Here in this Temple, because of its beauty, its ticket prices, it’s Rabbi, it’s congregation, it’s president?

A friend of mine asked me where I was planning to go for the High Holidays, and when I answered Perth Amboy, he asked if there were any Jews still living in Perth Amboy – I reminded him of NJPAC (New jersey Performing Arts Center) in Newark, where the State of NJ built an incredible concert hall and where there are performances by symphonies and opera stars, and I asked him how many of those that attend NJPAC are actually residents from Newark. In other words, people will travel to a location, no matter where it is, in the same way that we travel to Beth Mordecai, because this Temple is a special place with a feeling of tradition, with a special Rabbi, and special congregants, it is a place where you can easily appreciate the sanctity and solemn feeling of Yom Kippur.

Some of you might not be aware of it, but This Temple is named Beth Mordecai, IN MEMORY OF A FOUNDER’S CHILD WHO DIED over 100 years ago. I KNOW OF ONLY ONE Mordecai in our Jewish heritage and that is Mordecai from the story of Purim, yes, I know it is Yom Kippur and I did not confuse the holidays, but I want to relate a story of Mordecai from the bible. According to the megillah story, he approached his niece Queen Esther and asked her help for her fellow Jews by approaching the King, but Esther was scared to ask the King for help, because she knew that if the King did not grant her entry to his royal court, then she would be executed.  To paraphrase Mordecai’s response to Esther,  WHY ARE YOU HERE? And who knows if THE REASON Hashem placed you in your position at this very moment was to help your fellow Jewish people?

 IT IS THE SAME QUESTION I ASK OF YOU, WHY ARE YOU HERE?  Perhaps YOU ARE HERE at this very moment in our Temple’s 118 year history to help this temple?

Can you imagine the pioneers who established this Temple?? They erected this building in 1926 – try to visualize how they approached each and every member,and each member made a commitment and gave what they could afford and they made personal sacrifices to build this incredible edifice that still stands today? This building that we stand in TODAY for our Yom Kippur service.

These founders were GIANTS – and we stand on their shoulders, benefiting from their accomplishments.  Are we standing on their shoulders with wobbly knees, ready to fall, or are we going to stand tall and stand strong, so that the next generation can stand on our shoulders?

The singer Joni Mitchell, I am sure there are plenty of you who remember her, sang a hit song and the chorus was “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot, don’t it always seem as though you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I don’t want us to ever be in a position where we are remembering what this Temple used to be like. . . . . because you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

A young man who recently married approached me for advice on buying a house, and he planned on stretching his budget to afford the biggest mortgage he could get, and he asked my opinion.  I congratulated him, but I asked him if he calculated the cost of maintenance, the insurance, heating and air conditioning, electric, gas, water. . . . and don’t underestimate the most important expenditure, money for his wife’s shoe shopping at the mall? .he did not calculate any of these costs,  he just overlooked those expenses.

Our Temple has no mortgage, what a wonderful situation, nor do we have a building fund, we are very fortunate because many other temples have a mortgage BUT what we do have are the other expenses including maintenance, the insurance, heating and air conditioning, electric, gas, water, our energetic Rabbi, our incredible office director, our fantastic holiday cantor, and these bills must be paid. We currently operate at a $75,000 deficit, and believe me when I say, that our treasurer, Matt Richter and budget director, Cheryl August have cut our overhead expenses to the bone, not only that, but we have planned two very creative fundraisers to not only raise money, but also to raise our profile within the surrounding communities and to attract new members.  But it may not be enough.

I know it is a tough economy, some are unemployed, and many of our members are on a fixed income, but everyone needs to step up and do their part. Maybe you can donate money or maybe donate your time, but as Mordecai asked Esther WHY ARE YOU HERE? AND “who knows if THE REASON Hashem placed you in your position at this very moment is to help your fellow Jewish people at Temple Beth Mordecai?

We need to have more members to break even, so if you know of anyone that is looking for a Temple, then invite them to attend one of our functions and convince them to join, because more members equals more  dues which will help us balance our budget

Perhaps you don’t have the financial ability, or you don’t know of anyone who wants to join? Then help out with our fundraising efforts by assisting in the upcoming duck race event in 5 weeks or the homecoming weekend event  in March –  for the duck race event, we have teamed up with the Raritan Bay YMCA to raise money for our respective causes – but we need sponsorships for the Duck Race – Chevron Oil, Capital One Bank, and Shoprite are corporate sponsors, but we need MORE sponsors – it could be a restaurant, hair salon, your employer, your cousin Vinnie, your lawyer or accountant, anyone – I am calling up the infantry, I am calling up the reserves, we need our army of members , each and every one of you to bring in a sponsor  for this event – –  – our vice president Alan Roy,  (who spoke so eloquently on Rosh Hashanah has been working tirelessly on this event) so don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know what a duck race is, and believe me 6 months ago I did not know either , so simply ask Alan Roy and he will give you the details – -. Alan needs your help so that this major fundraiser will be a success for our Temple. Everyone needs to step up and do something for the common good of this Temple

We have tzadakah boxes in the foyer, take one home and fill it up every week with your spare change, the money will add up.

If you are blessed with the ability to donate money, then consider doubling your pledge, be generous, let $50 become $100 or $100 become $200, or $250 become $500, or $1,000 become $2,000. We need you to step it up, so if you can afford it, then the time is NOW, please give whatever you can.  There are envelopes at your seats please pledge by applying the stars to the amount and either give it to an usher or put it in the baskets in the back.

This Temple is experiencing a revival – ask any of your fellow members who have attended services or events with Rabbi Saks!!– those of you who had the honor of attending services on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah know exactly what I am saying about our Rabbi – if you don’t know about Rabbi Ari, then come out for a cantorial showcase Shabbat or experience a white out Friday night – or a Shabbat by the sea, and you will understand why rabbi ‘Ari is unique and that this congregation is fortunate to have him and his lovely wife Rachel at our Temple. We have an energetic Rabbi who is always trying to think “out of the box” and he is willing to try new and experimental events and services, because he recognizes that we can’t be afraid to try new things –

  • As I have said, The founders of Beth mordecai were GIANTS –  Are  we  standing on their shoulders with wobbly knees, ready to fall?  or  are  we going to stand tall and stand strong, so that the next generation can stand on our shoulders, so that this Temple, OUR TEMPLE, can thrive for another 118 years!!
  • Now is the time for each and every one of you to step up and step forward for this temple, OUR TEMPLE!!
  • May you all have a meaningful Yom Kippur, and may G-d hear our prayers and bless us and all our loved ones.
  • May we be blessed with health (SAY amen)

May we be blessed with happiness (SAY amen)

May we be blessed with prosperity (SAY amen).


Shana Tova,

Norman Silverstein


Category : Holidays President's Message Purim Yom Kippur
Tag :