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Our Journey Guides are My Heroes

04/15/2019 08:03:22 AM

Apr15

Journey is a labor of love.  Truly, a labor of love.  I dedicate this blog entry to the Journey Guides, 2018-19.  Who are they?  In alphabetical order:

Sandy Boccara

Laurie Gass 

Cynthia Gbadebo

Jay Goldberg

Bailey Helm

Margi Levin

Jeanne Saletan

Harry Selig

Geri Snider

Journey, The Jewish Discovery Project, launched in January of 2014, just as Congregation Shma Koleinu was born.  We started with 9 students and by May of that year, we had 35, and registered for that Fall, 50.  And we have been going strong ever since.  Without much or any of a long-range plan, other than believing in our mission to create a Jewish learning community that would seek to inspire, educate and entertain Jewish children, our Journey Guides have, from the very beginning, volunteered their time and talent towards these efforts. I am the Rabbi and the Educator and the curriculum developer, I wear many, many hats.  However, it is the free will offerings of love made by our volunteer Guides that truly fuels Journey from week to week and year to year (and by the way, we just completed our 44th B’nai Mitzvah!).

I am truly touched and humbled by the sheer commitment, shown by these remarkable people.  And let me be clear – only one of our Journey Guides holds any advanced degree in Jewish education, and only a few of them have real teaching experience.  But what they lack in professional, or even vocational Jewish expertise is far out-shadowed by, dare I say it once again?, their love for being there, for the children and for each other. 

On Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings, their presence and support make my job, not only doable, but inspired.  Today, when I think back on the numerous times I have spoken on and drawn inspiration from the Torah texts that have always felt like the catalysts for CSK’s very existence, the faces of Sandy, Cynthia, Jay, Bailey, Margi, Jeanne, Harry and Geri are some of the most prominent gift-givers I see in my mind’s eye.  In Parashat Terumah, God commands, Asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham, “Make for me a holy place that I may dwell among them,” and prior to that, in order to build this Mikdash (holy space), “Seek out gifts from the Israelite people, asher lidveinu libo, ONLY from those whose hearts are moved to do so.”

As we near the end of another “Journey year,” I wish to say to our Journey Guides: “You are my heroes.  You bring to life a vision that would remain a theory, if not for you.  Your trust in me, love and compassion for our children, and your truly tireless efforts from set up to break down, come from the movements of your hearts.  Thank you.  You are the embodiment of Theodore Herzl’s inspiring words, Im tirtzu, ein zo agada, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Wed, October 23 2019 24 Tishrei 5780