A Blessing of Gratitude
14 years after the original groundbreaking of Temple Beth Am, many of us gathered outside on a beautiful Sunday for a new groundbreaking. As I was standing between the beam (that we later signed) and the congregation, I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude. I had prepared a different message for the occasion, but the next day I sat to write a blessing that expresses those feelings:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Blessed are you God for:
1. Blessing and guarding us.
2. Guiding and helping a small number of TBA members to build a beautiful synagogue. Having an impressive building inspired us and many prospective members to become part of TBA. In the hundreds of times when I’ve had the pleasure of showing the building to those who never saw it before, I heard time and again: “I cannot believe that a place like this exists in a small town like Jupiter.”
3. Sending our way members who are naturally loving, warm and welcoming. We will never be satisfied with the hospitality we offer as we constantly strive to be better.
4. Blessing us with generous members who believe in the future of the Jewish people and the role of TBA in ensuring our continuity. The majority of our original benefactors attended the ceremony. They witnessed their original investment bearing fruit faster than they had expected. They were proud and happy even though their tangible reward was the opportunity to give another major gift.
5. Bold leaders who are not afraid to make difficult decisions, take risks and do all in their power to make TBA thrive. When the tendency of many temples’ boards is to preserve the “old,” our leaders respect the “old” but when facing a new, out of the box idea their response is, “How can we make it happen?”
6. Instilling the spirit of voluntarism in our member’s hearts. We have a small paid staff and many activities. What makes it possible is the hard work of hundreds of volunteers.
7. Bringing together talented, dedicated and hardworking staff who work together as a team to care for the needs of the members of TBA and the Jewish people of our community.
8. Being surrounded by so many young families and children from preschool age to high school. Because of them, our building is always full of life, laughter and optimism.
9. Blessing us with good neighbors such as the two churches across the road, St. Peter Catholic Church and JupiterFirst Church. Although our theologies are different, our core values and our desire to do God’s will unite us.
10. Blessing me and my family with 10 of the most beautiful years of our lives in this special place. I couldn’t have asked for a better congregation to serve. Thank you all for sharing your lives with us and for being our family.
Rabbi Alon Levkovitz