It’s time that every sect of Judaism realizes that we need one another.
A message from David Young
President, Temple Beth Am
The High Holy Days are over, and I hope we are all the better because of them. My remarks to the congregation on Rosh HaShanah dealt with the future of the Reform movement and ours here at Temple Beth Am.
It is no secret that many Jewish institutions are hurting. In our own community, we have seen first-hand congregations closing their doors, leading to many more unaffiliated Jews. This is sad — very sad.
So, what should our role be? What is the Jewish thing to do?
I read an article by Rabbi Marla J. Feldman which addressed this issue. Rabbi Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, wrote: “If we are going to shape the future of the Reform movement and ensure that progressive Jewish life continues to thrive, we need to think beyond our walls and, as Rabbi Lance Sussman so eloquently states, look into the hearts and minds of the Jewish people.”
Temple Beth Am is not only the premier Reform congregation in Miami, but we also have an exceptional reputation all over the country. We are a holy place where any Jew is welcome. Our community outreach is envied. And with the opening of our Rambam Day School building last and The Hub in Spring 2023, the sky is the limit. But with such a leadership position comes responsibilities.
I agree with the analysis that we “need to think beyond our walls,” but we also need to think within them as well. One thing that I will say emphatically: our mission and identity will never change. And that includes inclusiveness. Under the direction of Senior Rabbi Jeremy Barras, we now hold a Conservative Minyan once each month and we offered Conservative High Holy Day services for those congregants who wished to participate. Those individuals brought in a Conservative cantor and had a meaningful High Holy Day service at their new religious home. It was beautiful. We are one temple that opens its arms to everyone.
Through the leadership and reputation of Temple Beth Am, we gain new members daily. A big thank you goes out to our membership director, Rita Diaz, for all her hard work. She asked if I thought we should reinstitute the ambassador program for our new members. I told her it was a fabulous idea, but the program is also for our long-time members. Creating a big brother/sister relationship will make everyone feel closer to Temple Beth Am. So, if you would like to volunteer, please call Rita at 786.364.9434.
It’s about time that every sect of Judaism realizes that it needs one another. Those that hate us really don’t give a damn what kind of a Jew we are. And we all have witnessed antisemitism in 2022. I am honored to represent our treasured synagogue. We are adding and will continue to add to the quality of life of all Jewry.