Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Call for Support for our Synagogue

February 18, 2014/18 Adar I 5774 

 Psalms 27:4 ד אַחַת, שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת-יְהוָה-- אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ: שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי; לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם-יְהוָה, וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the graciousness of the LORD, and to visit early in God’s temple

 Dear Beth Israel Congregants and Friends:

 As some of you may be aware, our synagogue has sustained major damage over the past month and a half. There were several floods in the shul caused by sewer pipes that no longer worked properly, causing significant damage to our flooring and our bathrooms. As a result, we have had the basement cleaned three times, our sewer pipes have been replaced, and a sump pump has been installed in our boiler room. Due to the large amounts of ice covering the ground, this work was quite expensive. So far, repairs and cleanings have cost approximately $20,000.00. After an initial inquiry the synagogue was informed that the policy would not provide coverage. This issue is being reviewed further but it appears unlikely that our insurance will cover the damage. In addition, we are considering replacing our ruined carpet downstairs, which would cost about $9,000.00. In all, we are looking to raise $30,000.00 Beth Israel synagogue is our home.

In Hebrew, the term for synagogue is beit knesset, a house or home of gathering. Our current building, constructed in 1957, has been our home for learning, celebrating, and mourning together for decades. The social hall is where we celebrate the miracle of Chanukkah together, where we rejoice in the seder meal, where we come together to mark significant moments in our lives, where our children crawl and play, it is our home away from home. It is also the public face of the Jewish community in Waterville. Our building is the physical representation of our values and character presented to the greater community, family, and friends. As our community continues to grow and gain strength, our home should represent our vigor and pride. We cannot rely exclusively on our endowment to pay for repairs and renovations. I believe that our congregation has a bright future ahead of us, and we need to plan for that future and use those funds judiciously.

All of us need to contribute in the ways we can to sustain and fortify our congregation. We will need significant financial support, and we ask those who can afford to give generously to do so. However, there are also other ways to help us recover from this damage. Please contact me if you are interested in volunteering with the variety of projects necessary to repair and beautify our building. What makes our congregation so special are the gifts of the heart that we all offer to keep our synagogue going. All types of help are greatly appreciated.

Donations can be sent to our mailing address:

291 Maine Street
P.O. Box 1882
Waterville, ME 04903

With deep thanks, Rabbi Isaacs