We are grateful to launch a
capital campaign in times when our community is growing and thriving. The
Yiddish word “tzures” means “troubles,” but there is a related semi-sarcastic
phrase, “tzures of fortunate people,” that is being used when someone, for example,
complains about how loud the waves are by their ocean-front home, or talking
about their child’s agony of having to choose between Harvard, Yale and
Princeton. We are blessed at Temple Beth Am that, for the most part, our
troubles are of the second nature.
If we build it, will they come?
In 1983, a small group of Jews
decided to invest in the future of Jewish life in our area, and started a
synagogue in Jupiter. With much fortitude and foresight, they purchased land,
applied for permits, raised funds, and in 2006, moved into the new building. If
we were to start today, we wouldn’t have had the means to buy the land in the
middle of Jupiter, let alone build our impressive structure. It is astounding
how a small group of people had the vision and courage to take such a
significant risk and work so hard to make their vision come to life.
We built it, and they came.
Since we moved to the new
building, our congregation has doubled in size and our needs have evolved. The
One School is at maximum capacity and, between our Religious School and Shalom
Chai, we have more students attending our programs than all the other
synagogues from West Palm Beach to Stuart combined. This year we even ran out
of seats during some of the High Holy Days Services. Our building, as
impressive and beautiful as it is, presents challenges that require addressing
if we wish to continue to be the leading center for Jewish life in Northern
Palm Beach. For example, our 500-seat sanctuary is too big and the Bima is too
high to create the intimate feeling of Shabbat. Our chapel, social hall and
lobby are too small to accommodate all of our functions, and we have very
little room for our professional staff to do their work effectively. While we
are not permitted to add space to our current structure, we can redesign it to
fit our needs and create a welcoming feeling to all who enter it.
Most of those who were involved
in the original project are still the backbone of TBA and are major
contributors for Chidush. These contributors are those who originally designed
the synagogue to serve the spiritual, educational and social needs of 500
families. “We are more than 500 families now. It took us 10 years to get here,”
said one of the benefactors, “it is time to plan for the next 10.”
goal has always been to inspire those who join TBA to learn about and enjoy the
beauty and the depth embedded in our 4,000 year old traditions. “I feel like
I’m a born-again Jew,” said one of our Bnei Mitzvah students. While not
particularly a traditional Jewish phrase, he meant it as the highest
compliment. While being proud of his Jewish heritage, he found in his religion
the path for ethical and spiritual life.
the link between Chidush and Our vision?
Temple Beth Am’s vision involves
removing barriers to embracing Judaism in order to create a strong, vibrant,
accessible, and engaged Jewish community. Investing in the Chidush project is
an essential step towards meeting that vision. It will allow Temple Beth Am to
have a more inviting building, where our congregants can feel they are truly a
part of, rather than just attendees at, services and events, where programs can
be expanded to be inclusive for all ages, where our staff and volunteers can
efficiently provide needed support, where our children can find meaningful,
enlightened, and enjoyable education, and where we have engagement of the
people we need to ensure that Temple Beth Am will meet its vision and serve its
Jewish community well into the future.
Chidush is about being better in
order to reach a very important vision. Our initial investment paid off
handsomely. And now this is our time to reinvest. Please support your Temple’s
vision. Please support Chidush and this capital campaign.