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A Word From The Rabbi

From the President

Message from the President

Dear members and friends, While many Temple activities continued to hum away in the background during the COVID-19 restrictions, lifting them seems to have brought new energy to the shule. Services have been well attended and several innovations introduced: a dinner after one Kabbalat Shabbat service; coffee and cake before another, both likely to be repeated as they were much enjoyed, extending the social aspect of services much the way coffee in the boardroom precedes Saturday morning services.   It has been a relief to hear that most of you have not suffered seriously from the economic fallout of the pandemic, although the jobs of some members remain at risk and others of you will have friends and family who may be struggling. Our hearts also go out to all the Year 12 students whose next steps have been made less secure.

A great deal of energy has gone into developing the new administrative arrangements for collecting annual membership contributions. I know it can feel like a bombardment of emails, but updating and reorganising our administration has been a focus of this Board.  You have all responded promptly to the questionnaire Kathryn Teale circulated detailing the various options for paying membership fees; that is much appreciated. 

Having mentioned Kathryn, I want to acknowledge the huge workload she took on this year, expanding the Hon Secretary’s role to include the revamp of our data management including the processes for collecting (and explaining) membership contributions.  She is going to step down from the Hon Sec role prematurely as her ‘part-time’ studies in Speech Pathology, which now include an honours thesis and pracs, have effectively become full-time (or more). One note to her from a Board member speaks for us all: “Your knowledge, balance and wisdom will really be missed on the Board, never mind your accurate minutes!”.

Another member of the congregation whose extra effort has been of enormous benefit is Ari Antonovsky. He put together our submission for the Commonwealth Safer Communities Fund Round 5 [Infrastructure Grants]. As anyone who has ever applied for government funding would know, these applications are detailed and demanding. Ari clearly did this more than competently because we will receive $62,579 over three years to purchase and install security lighting and CCTV cameras – equipment that CSG has long urged us to acquire.

The Office of Multicultural Interests provides modest funding for the teaching of community languages: in our case Hebrew at TDRS. Their application process is incredibly complex. “Exhausting” is the word the TDRS staff use, which is almost an understatement. All the TDRS staff contributed to this effort, but I’d like to make special mention of two women who put enormous amounts of hours into the successful outcome, Helen Bryant and Ayela Konigsberg. Both women made an outstanding contribution. For Helen this comes on top of her various other commitments to Temple David as Chair of Ritual, TDRS Coordinator, teacher, lay leader and (as you likely know) the list goes on.  For Ayela, the hours of meetings came all while settling into a new home and preparing for the birth of her first child (in September). Many thanks to all and Mazel Tov!

A Building and Grounds Committee was established when Geoff stepped down from his role as caretaker earlier in the year. They have had their work cut out for them, but Steve Richards and his crew are settling into the task well. The busy bees they organised in June and July were a great success – thanks to all the worker bees who buzzed in. I should add that Geoff does keep a watchful eye on our activities and quietly steps in if he notices lights left on, doors or gates not fully secured, and similar.

Finally, I want to foreshadow a “new path” that the UPJ, with many Progressive congregations in Australia, including TD, is embarking on. Called Relational Judaism, in a sense it formalises and extends exactly what I’ve been describing above: the way members of our congregation find ways to engage and thereby strengthen our Jewish community as well as their own relationship with the community.