Giving is a Joyful Sacrifice by Dr. Laura Bernstein

In preparation for writing this blog, I decided to review this week’s parsha, Metzora.  Not an easy read unless you are a physician who is familiar with dermatology and urology; however, when we dig through the excruciating details and examine it deeper, there are some powerful messages that speak to Temple Beth El.  This week’s portion is not just about people but also houses that are susceptible to physical affliction.  I liken it to the mold and mildew we just recently removed with power washing from the exterior walls of our holy space.

Most uplifting in the parsha is not the diagnoses but the expiation process and celebration of the healing that comes after.  When someone is no longer afflicted, he or she brings sacrifices or gifts to thank God.  What is meaningful to me is that the gifts required were accessible to all.  In the Torah, those with financial means were expected to make larger sacrifices, such as three lambs.  People who could not afford to give large gifts made smaller sacrifices, such as turtle doves.

In the same way, Temple Beth El is fully accessible. People with financial means are asked to give larger gifts of monetary value.  People who cannot afford to give large financial gifts may bring smaller monetary gifts or offer their gifts of talent.  Regardless of size and shape, each gift represents hard work, commitment, passion, and sacrifice.

Children often ask why one person has to do more work than another or why we expect different things from different people.  The answer lies in the context of sacrifice.  Depending on who we are and what we have to give, sacrifice is different for each of us.

In the coming weeks we will be starting our annual membership campaign – our sacred giving campaign.  We will soon be calling, writing, and asking for your annual gift.  Our goal will be to help our congregation live up to Rabbi Judy’s recent challenge of 100% membership retention during our rabbinical transition.

As we soon end one fiscal year and start another, please remember that gifts are needed to support those who cannot give as much.  Each and every one of us matters. I ask that you be thinking about what you can and should give.  Can you increase 10%?  Will you double last year’s pledge?  Are you willing to share your talent on a committee?

I am personally reaching out to many of you, and I am standing by with my colleagues and trusted lay leaders to answer questions, talk about passions, and engage in dialogue about what it means to sacrifice and celebrate the result of our continued giving.

May we go from strength to strength.

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