A transition to a new year is always a time for reflection. On Rosh Hashanah, we look back on all that we have accomplished. On Yom Kippur, we look forward, with a bit of trepidation and a lot of hope. Somehow, that reflection takes on special meaning this year.
Hill Havurah began this year with a packed congregation for High Holiday services, children’s programming, and festive meals. Gan Shalom, our preschool, was full and thriving. Yavneh, our religious school, had grown to over 140 students. For the first time, we celebrated Sukkot in our own sukkah. Hannukah brought another large family celebration. We gathered together for a raucous Purim. Our wonderful Rabbi Hannah led Shabbat services, Tot Shabbat, and other community programs too numerous to count.
When the world changed, we changed with it. Within days of our city’s closing down for the COVID-19 emergency, Hill Havurah moved online. We conducted virtual Shabbat services, virtual Tot Shabbat, and online religious school classes. We convened our traditional Passover seder over Zoom. We attended movie previews, held discussions about the pandemic, participated in an online play, and continued our interfaith dialogue with our friends at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. In keeping with our values, we have worked to keep our community knit together even when we can feel so far apart—checking in directly with every member of the Havurah, improving our online offerings, and making plans for the day when we can meet in person again. We are deeply grateful to the professional staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to make all of this possible. We go forward into the new year with a sense of hope and pride in what our community has accomplished during this challenging time.
And yet, as fits this season of reflection, there remains some trepidation and concern. Hill Havurah maintains spaces at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation and at Kingsman Academy (Yavneh)—but, for now, those spaces sit empty. Our families have told us that they will return in full to Yavneh and Gan Shalom when it is safe to do so in person—but, for now, our enrollment in these programs is down. Because we cannot meet together, we have cancelled our annual Gala. However temporary the setback, we face a significant budget shortfall. In short, Hill Havurah needs your support now more than ever.
How can you help?
First, we respectfully ask that you renew your annual membership as soon as possible. Your membership dues help the Havurah to provide excellent programming year-round, quarantine or no quarantine. If you have already done so, thank you! If you are not yet a member, please consider joining now.
Second, because so many in our community have been impacted by the ongoing emergency, we ask that you consider making a donation above and beyond your annual dues. Hill Havurah has made a commitment never to turn away a member of our community because of financial hardship. Your generosity today helps us honor that commitment, today and tomorrow.
Finally, if a specific Hill Havurah program has been especially meaningful to you this year, now is the time to ensure that program outlasts the current crisis. The Havurah has established several funds that help to focus your donation to the work most meaningful to you—whether maintaining our ritual space, engaging in direct social action, or making sure we continue to provide quality children’s programming. Please see our website for a full list of options.
Our warmth, our values, and our commitment to our community have seen our congregation through the most challenging few months since its founding. With your help, Hill Havurah will be here for you in the months and years to come. Membership and donations can be made via our website at www.hillhavurah.org.
Thank you very much for all you do to make Hill Havurah such a special place. To those who have already demonstrated your generosity, we are grateful and we thank you. May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year.
Chair of the Hill Havurah Board
Vice Chair of the Hill Havurah Board