Janet Widmaier's blog
I am delighted to announce that our wonderful and talented Song Leader, Cindy Michelassi, has just signed a new contract with Congregation Etz Chaim. This is the perfect time for me to share with you the many ways in which Cindy contributes to the life of our community.
In less than two weeks, our younger daughter, Leah, will become a Bat Mitzvah. This is our family’s second time through the process, and I have a fresh realization of how so many people come together to create an environment in which each child can succeed. Many of you know about this from the personal experiences of your own families, but for those who do not, let me take you through the process.
The other day, as I was talking with my daughter about our plans for the upcoming Seder, she asked me, “Mom, what’s your favorite part of the Seder?” I paused, realizing that I had never thought about that question before. I found myself answering, “Dayenu is my favorite part of the Seder, because it gives us a chance to really experience gratitude.” What I was thinking, but couldn’t articulate at the moment, was that Dayenu carves out for us a structure in which we can truly pay attention to that for which we are grateful.
Many of you were in the sanctuary yesterday as “Bond, James Bond” and “Purim Galore” led us in the reading of the Megillah. We had a rollicking time, singing Purim classics with the Home Groan Orchestra, drowning out Haman’s name with our mac and cheese greggors, and socializing after services as our JYG ran the carnival and our high school kids prepared and served food. Once again, Etz Chaim has served as the Purim Capital of North America!
This coming Sunday, the upper school at Etz Chaim will be having a family program focused on the question “What Makes Me a Jew?” The 8th, 9th, and 10th graders, along with their parents, will spend the morning studying this question. I am one of the 8th grade teachers (as well as the mother of a 10th grader) so I have the inside track on the program.
As the calendar year (and the tax year) draws to a close, this is the time when many of us think about making additional charitable gifts. You, the members of Congregation Etz Chaim, support the congregation with your commitment pledges and with additional gifts throughout the year. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the financial support you provide to Etz Chaim. Without each of us stepping up to contribute our fair share, and in many cases more than our fair share, the congregation would not exist.
It is my privilege to use my bulletin article this month to announce the formation of a new Etz Chaim donative fund. At last night’s Board of Directors meeting, the Board approved the formation of the Barbara Baruch School Scholarship Fund. This fund will be used to provide scholarship money to pay, in part or in full, religious school tuition fees for families who could not otherwise pay these fees.