Synagogues come in all shapes, sizes and denominations. Yet there is a common thread that connects all of our houses of worship, Torah and an Eternal Light - Ner Tamid. In this week's Torah portion we learn how each of the Israelites were instructed to bring olive oil to the Tabernacle to ensure that the Ark be illuminated from evening to morning. It is important to note that the act of keeping the light burning for all generations to come is not only a personal obligation but also a communal obligation.
Our tradition clearly says that we should fulfill these acts with enthusiasm, dedication and most of all because of the personal gratification and meaning we receive by performing those acts that ensure the light and our community remains bright.
Something historic happened this week that will further ensure that the collective light continues to shine for our community well into the future. As the principle planning body for our Jewish community, the Federation looks to our entire community to actively contribute to a robust engaged and enriched planning process.
For the first time, the Federation brought together the professional leadership of our local Jewish agencies along with the rabbinic leadership from our local synagogues. These are some of our key leaders and stakeholders who together represent the Jewish infrastructure of Greater Hartford.
There was excitement in the air and a real sense of optimism for the future. We asked probing questions about critical issues that underscored our joint commitment to make sure the brightness of our Jewish community never dims. We discussed innovative ways of reaching, educating and inspiring all Jewish people no matter how connected they feel. We agreed to explore closer collaborations that will result in greater resources, shared talent and overall improvement in supplemental Jewish education. And what is so important, we began to look at our joint need to identify, nurture, train and steward new leadership.
We were challenged by Rabbi Kohn from Temple B'nai Abraham in Meriden to find better ways to reach those communities outside the "core" (east of the river, Farmington Valley, Meriden, and Middletown) so they might benefit from the work we are doing.
As our ancestors brought oil to the Temple to keep the flames bright, so do each of us have a responsibility to contribute our own unique "fuel" that keeps our collective Ner Tamid glowing. Together, we keep the light burning; the light that will illuminate the path to continuous growth of our Jewish people.
President & CEO