As the summer winds down and the nights begin to get cooler and we sort our vacation photos and help our children and grandchildren prepare for another school year, we begin to anticipate the high holidays – family gatherings, shul, self-reflection, ….and we return to our responsibilities – obligations that must be met – promises that must be kept.
One of our obligations – one that we took on seven years ago – is to preserve our beloved Temple Beth Israel. We made that promise for the sake of our parents and grandparents, for the sake of our fond memories of our youth and for the sake of the proud history of a vibrant Jewish presence in Northeastern Connecticut that was centered on a beautiful stone and glass and timber building in Danielson. And, for the past seven years, that presence has been renewed, remembered, fortified, documented and celebrated. We promised that we would take our parents’ stories, lessons, and values and that we would do something honorable and wonderful with them. And with your generous support, we have done just that.
In our 2016 Annual Report we detailed the many wonderful things that we have done and continue to do. We have preserved and enhanced the building, promoted education and created a place for Jewish life that has enhanced the fabric of the whole community. We took on three (3) major renovation and stabilization projects within a span of less than two years and they will all be completed by the High Holidays. At an overall expense of over $75,000 and countless hours of donated labor and materials, we have addressed critical concerns facing the building. It is now safer, more stable, dryer, brighter and more beautiful. Here is what we have done:
1.) The upper terrace (with a grant from the DAR and support from David and Summer Fetterman),
2.) the lower terrace (with support from the Rosenberg / Bell family)
3.) a full electrical upgrade (through the Let There Be Light Campaign with support from David and Summer Fetterman and a grant from the CT-Trust for Historic Preservation).
We have also kept our promise to tell the founders’ stories and to use the lessons of the Holocaust to enhance and enrich the quality of life in the community. We continue to work with the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. We are now known for our resourceful Holocaust education program that is critically tied to addressing “bystander indifference” and bullying in our schools. We are constantly refining our rituals. Our impact on the local interfaith scene continues to grow. We are respected and admired for doing so much with so little.
Now we need to pay our bills. Oil, insurance, electricity, snow removal, program development – the list goes on. The simple reality is that we cannot carry out our mission without your continued support. Each of you has a special connection with this community. Each of you has your own reason to help. We have made promises to one another and we have a shared responsibility. Please send your annual contribution in today. And please be as generous as you can.
We look forward to seeing you at our innovative High Holiday observances.
May you and your loved ones be blessed with health, peace and joy in the coming year.
With friendship and gratitude,
Norman Berman, President
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Please send your check to:
Rosa Goldblatt, Treasurer,
63 Sherwood Lane,
Norwich, CT 06360
or visit our website www.templebethisraelct.org to safely donate online.