Why we chose to support the TEBS 2023 Capital Campaign – Brahms E. Silver
I first crossed the threshold of Temple Emanu-El (as it was then referred to) holding my mother’s hand. I was 10 years old. Little did I realize, at that time, how much my life would be influenced by this venerable institution and that one day, long into the future, I would serve as its President.
My parents having joined as members of the Congregation made it possible for me to be enrolled as a student in the Religious School. The year was 1948. Thus, began a whole series of personal life-cycle events in which I would be fully immersed and embraced by a faith community I have come to cherish as an extended and loving family.
For my wife, Vivian and me, standing under the roof of Temple is to be consciously aware that we are synonymously standing on Holy Ground. It is from this sacred place that the words of Rabbi Hillel ring true in our ears, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
As the Holiday Season and the end of the year approach, there arrives in the mail a plethora of requests for financial support, each representing an exceedingly worthy cause. While we would be happy to contribute to all, practicality dictates that choices have to be made.
And so, couched in the words of wisdom, spoken in her sermon last Yom Kippur, Rabbi Grushcow invited each within the sound of her voice to consider Temple’s holy mission by asking the following question: “What if we made every decision keeping in mind our grandparents and our grandchildren, two generations before us and two after, the people who will sit in these seats, sustain the society, inhabit this planet? How can we choose life, not just for us, but for them?
Listening with focused attention, Vivian and I realized her query encompassed the very essence of covenant; the moral imperative for us as members of the Jewish People to pass Torah and a way of life from generation to generation….
It became abundantly clear for Vivian and me, notwithstanding the many worthy appeals from various organizations requesting financial support, that Temple is the launching pad from which we can go forth to repair the world (Tikkun Olam).
Hence, for us, helping to sustain Temple and all that it stands for through its 2023 Capital Campaign, in the here and now, has been recognized a priority and once again, Hillel’s words take on a life of their own: “And if not now, when?”