This was the letter from the Rabbi that went along with the pictures and some quotes below it. This was in the Menorah.
I was very touched and inspired by the mitzvot performed by many of our temple family members recently. Some members visited and brought gifts to people on Purim. Another member, Betsy, sent sweets to our college students. Sending well-wishes and gifts on Purim is an ancient custom. It derives from our joy at knowing that our Jewish ancestors were saved due to the bravery of Esther and Mordechai, and our wanting to pass on that joy to others.
Honoring our elders is an ancient Jewish value, starting with the commandment in the Torah that we are to honor our parents. In addition to the Torah, laws in the Talmud and many other Jewish texts direct us to give respect and honor to the older members of our community. This year, our very active social action committee organized visits to some of the seniors in our community. The committee also prepared decorative baskets of cards and presents, which people delivered to the seniors. In addition to bringing the gift baskets, adults and children brought their good spirits, warmth and love to the seniors, some of whom are home-bound. Please see page 5 of this Menorah for beautiful photographs and written descriptions of what it felt like to visit Sylvia.
I am honored to be the rabbi of a congregation whose members engage in the mitzvot of sending gifts on Purim and honoring seniors. We are a congregation that not only talks the talk. We walk the walk, performing acts of Tikkun Olam, repair of the world. In many ways, we are doing so much to make the world a better place than it was before we were born. Let us continue to work together to improve our temple.
“On Sunday, March 17th, Nia, Jordan, Ellie, Ava, Dylan, Hannah, Arianna and I went to visit a beautiful member of Temple Beth Elohim, Sylvia. She was very inspirational and taught us a lot in a short amount of time. We were smiling the whole time. She sang and did the gestures along with us. The two songs we sang were: “My Hat Has Three Corners” and “David Melech Y’Israel.” At the end she told us how happy we made her. We dropped off a Purim Basket and she was very appreciative.”
“My experience with Mrs. Welsher was amazing. The look on her face when she saw us was truly heartwarming. It made me feel so good to see her so happy. What we did was a true mitzvah, and I hope I never forget it.”
“When I went to visit Sylvia, it felt so good to see how her face lit up at seeing us. The act of kindness felt great because it brought her so much joy. “
“My experience with Sylvia was amazing. She was so happy to see us, and she kept on saying how seeing us was the best present she could ever get. Seeing her so happy made my day! She said that the temple was her home, and at night if she couldn’t sleep she just thinks about happy memories. This was so sweet to hear. It is true the temple is our home, and I was happy to hear her say that. Sylvia is a very positive person who shared many happy moments with us. I think this visit and the things she said are really going to stay with me for a long time.”
I don’t know who felt more blessed and taken in by the experience of today…Sylvia, the girls or Geri, Kara and I. It was such a beautiful exchange of laughter, singing and true affection. Sylvia was BEAMING, the
girls were BEAMING and us moms with sweet tears in our eyes. To see Sylvia so full of life at almost 100 was one thing, but to hear her talk about her love of TBE and the sense of community, family and home it gave to her was such an inspiration, or better yet an affirmation…. of how we all feel.
Penny, thank you for bringing up your visits with Sylvia during the social action committee. You are 100% right about her joy from seeing these girls.
The social action committee is a group of congregants of all ages who enjoy working together to perform tikkun olam – doing our small part to help repair the world. We welcome new people and new ideas, so please join us! All meetings are on Sunday mornings at 9am. The dates are January 20, February 10, March 3 & 31 and May 19.
Our present projects include:
- Helping to house the homeless through the Brewster Emergency Shelter Partnership
- Knitting and crocheting beautiful prayer shawls for Connecticut Regional Hospice
- Helping at the soup kitchen in Brewster
- Young families preparing and delivering baskets of holiday goodies for our older congregants
- Collecting food, warm clothing, and other essentials for organizations that benefit those in need throughout our area
- Collaborating with our religious school to host an annual intergenerational breakfast, at which the entire congregation is invited to come together to share breakfast, a lovely concert by our religious school students, and meaningful conversation across the generations
- Helping the college committee send holiday packages to our college students
- Providing rides to temple events for any senior congregants who need them
We invite you to join us, to help with any of these projects or to suggest new ones. Whether you can help a little or help a lot, we’d love to meet you! For more information please call the temple office at 845-279-4585, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to our next meeting.