Our congregations are defined by the connections we share among each other, not contained, or limited by a physical space. Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, access to our physical spaces has remained limited.
During this time, our synagogues – Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, Congregation Shaarey Tikvah, Suburban Temple-Kol Ami, Temple Emanu El, Temple Israel Ner Tamid, Park Synagogue and The Temple-Tifereth Israel – have launched innovative digital programming, worship and lifecycle moments to stay engaged socially, connected to God, Torah and Israel, and invested in mitzvot and tikkun olam. And we continue to craft new and creative ways for our members to stay connected.
While our rituals and traditions have been challenged, we are doing what the Jewish community does best: adapt the traditions and practices of our ancient faith so they remain relevant and central as we meet this moment. As is true for every institution in Cleveland, these changes came quite unexpectedly, demanding an immediate shift of resources. It will take your continued financial support to ensure that our Jewish institutions, especially our synagogues, survive.
These last few months, our synagogue communities have reinvented themselves, exhibiting the resiliency and strength of our people. Even without the ability to gather in-person, we are viewing the approaching High Holy Days as an opportunity to support a larger congregational family, not constrained by a physical space.
It is disappointing that our traditional practices will be disrupted this year. We rely on these important Jewish Holy Days to reset, renew and prepare for the year ahead, and the coming year will bring more challenges than usual. Synagogues and religious institutions worldwide are struggling with the effects of coronavirus, and the impact on membership numbers. Synagogue life in America is at a crossroads and many of our congregations must make challenging decisions based on this new financial reality.
As local synagogue leaders, we know how vital it is to find a spiritual home that is a good fit. We are not alone. Judaism is a shared experience and identity. In the face of a global health crisis, it is even more essential to find spiritual comfort and community. When you find your fit, make the commitment to invest your time, talents, and resources to ensure that your congregation continues to thrive in times of uncertainty and challenge.
Your continued membership and financial commitment will ensure that the Cleveland Jewish community will thrive. We will continue to offer innovative and inclusive programming digitally while preparing to open our doors and welcome everyone home when it is safe. Financially secure synagogues will continue to enrich our lives now and for many years to come throughout Cleveland. Your membership will both sustain our synagogues through the short term and contribute to the healing of the world that will be demanded of us afterward. We have work to do, a community to heal and you are part of it.
Rabbi Robert A. Nosanchuk, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple
Rabbi Stephen Weiss, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation
Rabbi Scott B. Roland, Congregation Shaarey Tikvah
Rabbi Allison B. Vann, Suburban Temple-Kol Ami
Rabbi Steven L. Denker, Temple Emanu El
Rabbi Matthew J. Eisenberg, Temple Israel Ner Tamid
Rabbi Joshua Hoffer Skoff, Park Synagogue
Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, The Temple-Tifereth Israel