The challenges of the past several months presented a unique opportunity for us to reimagine a spirited, meaningful and fulfilling High Holyday season. If the initial feedback is any indication, it seems that we were able to deliver an uplifting and enjoyable experience for congregants, balancing the requirements of our tradition with these unprecedented times.
Personally, I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who worked so hard and contributed immensely to making these holidays a possibility. It begins with our gifted spiritual leader, compassionate pastor and brilliant teacher Rabbi Silver. Since there was neither power nor an Internet connection at the synagogue for Rosh Hashanah, she traveled to Dallas to ensure that we would be able to provide services virtually for our community. Throughout, Rabbi Silver coordinated with our High Holyday chazzan, David Kaplinsky, whose warmth, care and personal touch enhanced the beauty and spirituality of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
Beginning in early July, The High Holyday Task Force met weekly to design, develop and deliver various aspects of the holiday experience, including ritual, technology, children’s services and programming and honors. They did a superb job.
Thanks to Julie Finger and the Health Committee for their continued guidance on the requisite procedures and practices to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our congregants and staff. We are fortunate to have such a talented group of health care professionals.
As you are aware, the synagogue building and parsonage incurred water damage from Hurricane Ida. Nicole Tygier and the Building Committee immediately went to work and coordinated with our insurance agent, a representative from a restoration company, insurance adjusters, an industrial hygienist, an environmental engineer and structural engineers to take the necessary steps to dry out the synagogue and mitigate the water damage, enabling us to have in-person and virtual services for Yom Kippur. This required an inordinate amount of time, energy and effort to achieve.
Thanks to our skilled, experienced and enthusiastic Education and Programming Director, Nomi Kornfeld, and her staff, including Chaviva Sands, Bonnie Lustig, Sarah Lustig, Meryl Zimmerman, Debbie Wells and Dana Wallen, who created innovative and stimulating programming for our families and youth. These offerings were enjoyed by children of all ages.
Working on an array of tasks and responsibilities were our personable, pragmatic and disciplined Executive Director, Ricardo Totah, and our warm and capable Office Assistant, Sarah Lustig, -- all of whom are supported by our hard-working building maintenance staff of Shintee Boykins and Ervin Thomas. Each of them makes a critical contribution to Shir Chadash, especially while navigating a pandemic and a hurricane.
Thanks to our lay leaders and every congregant who volunteers his or her time, no matter the task, it makes a valuable difference and does not go unnoticed. You play a critical role for our community.
The Hebrew term for gratitude is hakarat hatov, which means recognizing the good. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what we as individuals – and as a community – receive. I am grateful to you and your family for your steadfast commitment to Shir Chadash.