Usually I stay within the realm of providing whatever leadership I can for religious services, life cycle events, etc. The Board makes all governance and fiscal decisions.

However, during these few weeks before Rosh Hashanah, we have a time for all manner of renewals. I suggest our spiritual and religious renewals also include renewal of membership in Kolot Mayim. I wanted to add my perspective to the whole idea of ‘belonging’ to a synagogue.

There are two issues for me.

One is we need your physical presence in the room. We need a minyan. We need ten Jews in the room to proceed with certain prayers, to read Torah publicly. And, more importantly, I think, we need your presence to spend time with you, to talk with you, to get to know you. Most of you are aware of this need, and it is very important.

But I also want to discuss another reason for renewing your membership – even if you don’t particularly like coming to services. With your membership you are helping to support the presence of Reform Judaism in Victoria and on Vancouver Island. You are helping to support my efforts as rabbi to be available to everyone, including the many unaffiliated Jews I see over the course of any year: People who are ill, and may be dying, and their families; people I meet to plan funerals and burials; people I meet to plan their weddings; people who might join Kolot Mayim to allow their children to become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. I meet many interfaith families who have not felt welcomed elsewhere – with your membership you are directly helping me help their return to Jewish community. Could there be a greater mitzvah?

I – we – can only be available to those who call if we have this actual presence. And that presence requires your financial support. This week in Shoftim we read tzedek tzedek tirdof – righteousness, righteousness you shall pursue. We often interpret this phrase – and quite rightly – as running towards a mitzvah. And one of our central mitzvot is giving tzedakah.

So this is my plea as your rabbi, tzedek tzedek tirdof – help Kolot Mayim stand firmly within the larger Jewish community here in Victoria. Allow all of us to reach out and reach in with welcome.

Many thanks, and with great love to all,Rabbi Lynn