President's Column - December 2017

Shalom. We have all just celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday that brings together people of all religions and communities in our country. It must be an especially sweet day for refugee families celebrating their first Thanksgiving, their first celebration of being a new American.

Coming together as a community and bridging our differences was in important theme of a Guilford event that I recently attended one Sunday afternoon in November. Entitled “Building a Community of Compassion,” a broad cross-section of Guilford residents (including clergy, activists, and concerned citizens) explored their own experiences and those of others regarding diversity (or lack thereof) in the area and incidents of bias or intolerance. There was much reflection and conversation, and many of us spending the afternoon at the Guilford Community Center learned a great deal by just sitting down and listening to the stories of others. We ended the day by each person committing to assist with an action plan. For me, I will attend a meeting on December 6th to explore forming a Guilford Human Rights Commission. Thanks to Rabbi Offner for being part of the steering committee organizing the event and inviting me to participate.

Changing the subject only slightly, there is a step we can all take to help TBT be a more welcoming, vibrant, and economically diverse place. This year’s Annual Fund campaign is underway, and my letter explaining how you can participate was mailed to all congregants and is linked in the weekly Shofar e-Blast. The Annual Fund brings in necessary funds for all aspects of TBT operations but is particularly critical in allowing us to welcome all Jewish shoreline families regardless of their economic circumstances. We are a stronger community for opening our doors to all area Jewish families, and we hope to have at least 50% of TBT members make a donation to the Annual Fund in an amount that is comfortable for them. Thank you.

Jeff Babbin