It is the time of year when we like to reflect on the past and plan for the future. We are a few weeks away from the Yomin Noriam, and we are preparing for a meaningful and safe Davening experience for our members and the community.
It is also the time of year we embark on our annual Yom Kippur appeal.
The annual Yom Kippur appeal is essential to the Young Israel’s budget. The money raised from the campaign helps the organization meet day to day operating expenses for our Shul.
Let us take a minute to reflect on the past. Over the course of the year the shul serves as a focal point in the community. It is the place we gather to Daven with flourishing weekday and Shabbos minyanim. The shul is a place where we meet for Torah study and learning opportunities through the Young Israel Kollel. Our children have meaningful Shabbos groups. Our members and the community celebrate simchas, like weddings and bar mitzvahs in our building. We are home to numerous educational opportunities. Our building provides a venue for events held by many of our valued non-profit organizations and Jewish community day schools.
This past fiscal year we successfully closed a capital campaign to pay off our mortgage. This magnificent accomplishment has stabilized our finances, and hopefully will provide long term balance to our budget.
We now need to focus on our immediate future. We approach this Yom Kippur appeal with a sense of urgency and a greater need than in past years. We need deeper and broader participation.
In March, we all began to feel the impacts of Covid-19. We as a shul mobilized quickly to offer educational, learning opportunities, for our members. We stayed connected through zoom and conference calls. We paved a way to re-open the shul, congregate safely together with a minyan on Shavous, while absorbing the cost of a tent rental. We now offer multiple minyanim during the week and on Shabbos, indoor, and outdoor under a tent.
Many of us, many of our institutions, our shul included, were severely impacted by COVID-19. While the shul’s budget relies heavily on membership dues and donations, we also anticipate significant room rental revenue and pledges from aliyos to help keep our budget and finances balanced.
As you can imagine, room rental revenue is and will continue to be lower in the near term, compared to prior years. We also anticipate the sale of seats for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to be lower. We understand some are not yet prepared to participate in person for davening on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. However, whether you plan on attending or not, we urge all those who can, to purchase seats as you have done in past years so we can begin the year on solid financial ground.
In the near term, Covid-19 has changed the way we live, daven, learn, and congregate. We must focus on opportunity. How can we change? Can we better ourselves during these challenging times? Can we better the way we interact with others? What will we do differently once Covid-19 has past?
We also must focus on the future. Tremendous effort has been made to stabilize the finances of our shul. We cannot let this stumbling block stunt our continued growth as a Kehila and organization. The Shul needs your participation now more than in prior years. We must not let this short term unforeseen event have negative long term impacts to our lives and our shul.
We ask you kindly to participate in our Annual Yom Kippur Appeal and respond generously. Your participation is critical for the long term success of Young Israel of Greater Cleveland.
May Hashem grant us all a healthy and happy new year and may we merit much nachas by participating in this important endeavor.
Jeff Belkin, President
Rabbi Naphtali Burnstein