"It was love at first sight! The natural thing to do was give back as a symbol of our deep gratitude for what the Temple has done for us."
I remember that day like it was yesterday. When Andrea and Bill Kirsh introduced us to the Temple, it was love at first sight. After a massive snowstorm in 1995 and Marc's job offer in Miami, we left the cold climate of Washington DC for Miami Beach. I recall being led into the Temple by the director of the preschool and feeling right at home. As Marc and I drove up to our rental house later that day, we were warmly greeted with a beautiful welcome basket from Temple Beth Sholom.
Growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina, where Jews were quite the minority, my parents were active temple participants and instilled in me a strong Jewish identity. Marc's mother, born in Tzfat, came from an Orthodox household. Israel was always a central part of his upbringing. Marc's father grew up in Buffalo in a family active in their local synagogue.
Our daughters, Jessica Rachel and Julie Aviva, became B'not Mitzvah at the Temple, attended religious school, Camp Coleman, and spent a summer in Israel. I became a Bat Mitzvah as part of Rabbi Pomerantz's 1999 B'nei Mitzvah class.
Marc and I treasure Temple Beth Sholom for so many reasons. Our family's TBS Magical Mitzvah Tour in 2003 strengthened our bond with Israel. We've visited our beloved Israel 10 times since then. Torah study and adult classes have taught us much about our faith. We always look forward to Friday night services for the opportunity to connect with our synagogue family. Many cherished friendships have come from our connections to the temple.
As chair of the Congregational Engagement Committee, I have had the privilege to champion new initiatives that encourage meaningful participation and create connections among our members.
Our daughters are well aware of our philanthropic support and are proud and grateful for their Jewish roots. We lead by example and have always taught our daughters the importance of giving back. We are proud they are young Jewish philanthropists.
Leaving a legacy gift feels like a natural thing for us to do, serving as a symbol of our great appreciation for what the Temple has done for us. It honors our parents for their love and dedication to synagogue life. We directed our legacy gift to support congregational engagement programs as a way to thank our synagogue for embracing us as new members 20 years ago. We hope that in 50 years' time, our synagogue will be the center of an even more vibrant Jewish community, filled with ruach (spirit), personal and communal moments of joy, and meaningful mitzvot.
You can wait your whole life to have the means to give. The reality is that everyone's gift is equally important, and giving what you can now and within your means is what truly matters.