Our theme for these Days of Awe – for this year’s High
Holidays – is to Return to the roots that were stripped away
from our grandparents and great-grandparents one century
ago, as they became Jewish History’s “Lost Century.” To
Return to our sources. And to get back to who we were. Who
we are. And who we can be again.
Ashkenazi Jews in America,
we talked about how Reform Jews came to
and established the first major Jewish institutions here
between 1840-1880 -- before our Orthodox grandparents and
great-grandparents arrived from Eastern Europe between 1881-1914.
We talked about how the German Reform movement created
institutions in America
aimed at perverting and converting our forebears from our
roots to become a “Jewish-flavored” form of Liberal German
Protestantism that they sincerely believed would cure all
anti-Semitism. And Germany would be their proof that
they were right.
They pointed proudly to the way that their new religion –
with organs instead of Talmud, with Zionism ripped out of
the prayer book, and with Hebrew excised in favor of the
“soul-searing” and “uplifting” sounds of Goethe’s German –
their new religion would herald a new beginning. For a
vision of no more anti-Semitism, in a world in which the
Hebrew language was dead-and-buried anyway, a world that was
never going to see another Jewish State arise anyway.
The New Progressive Judaism first would solve the
anti-Semitism in Germany.
Without Zionism and Hebrew, Germans no longer would accuse
Jews of “Dual Loyalty.” With rabbis dressed like, and
speaking like, German Liberal Protestant ministers –
anti-Semitism would stop, first in Germany. Then, everywhere else.
– tomorrow, the world.
We talked about how our grandparents and great-grandparents
from Eastern Europe did not know what they were being hit
with, when they arrived in western countries like America
and France and England and South Africa between 1881-1914.
They arrived in Ellis Island, and they were shipped to Boston. From Boston to
Chicago to Milwaukee. No one wanted them. Or – rather –
no landed Reform Jewish community wanted them. They were
sent to Galveston. They were sent
to the Catskills. A Reform Jewish NIMBY -- NOJIMBY – No
Orthodox Jews In My Back Yard. Or in my city.
But our grandparents and great-grandparents -- they kept
coming back. Or they just kept coming. And, finally, plans
had to be made to deal with them – to strip them of their
heritage – right then and there. To strip them of their
Orthodox essence – to make them less repulsive, to help
So we learned of Reform Jewish leaders, the Rabbi David
Phillipsons and Rabbi Kaufman Kohlers, and their published
teachings that urged their congregants and communities to
alter the Orthodox. So women like Minnie Lewis walked the
streets, offering cookies to boys if they would let her cut
off their sideburns. We learned of Julia Richman’s directive
in the New York CityPublic School
system’s Lower East Side
that any child speaking Yiddish should have her mouth washed
out with soap.
This is how our grandparents and great-grandparents
initially became “enlightened” in the
New World. This is why so many of us today are
not Orthodox. This is the true reason that, in America in
the 20th Century, so many Jews suddenly walked away from a
heritage that – through two thousands years of bitter exile
-- could not be crusaded out of them, blood-libeled out of
them, torn out of them, stabbed out of them, stretched out
of them, lynched out of them, gassed out of them, burned out
of them, or cremated out of them for thousands of years from
the Ghettos of Europe to the Mellahs of Morocco.
They gave it up because it was very hard; it was very
demanding. They gave it up because it called for sacrifice
in a society that enjoys pursuing and taking. (Capitalism is
great; don’t misunderstand my import. After having lived
under Israeli socialism for two years in the 1980s, I am the
biggest believer in capitalism. But
teaches us that, if we want it, we should go for it. And, as
soon as we can reach it, we should grab it. And that is not
exactly the same as a Torah that teaches some sacrifice,
some restriction: If you want to eat pork or bacon – well,
you may not. You want to have shrimp to adorn your salad?
You may not. The Shabbat is a Day of Delight, even if two
Big Ten football teams are fighting it out for the top spot
on the AP poll.
(You want to have rotating boyfriends or rotating
girlfriends? Well, you have to settle down and make a life
commitment to someone, get married with a ketubah, and raise
a family. So, Judaism calls for sacrifice and restraint. It
means that, if you absolutely have to watch the
KentuckyDerby, you set
the VCR on Friday and you watch it on Saturday Night –
because the Shabbat belongs to G-d and to Holiness.)
That is why so many gave up the Torah that sustained us for
3,900 years. But – most of all – and let’s not kid ourselves
– our grandparents and great-grandparents gave it up
primarily because they were embarrassed. They were
humiliated. They were ashamed to tell the boss that they had
to leave work early on Friday, or that they needed to take
two days off mid-week for a Biblical festival. They were
embarrassed in America. In America, before modern synagogues
built mikvahs for dishes, who would drag dishes to the river
or ocean to tovel them? Before beautiful modern mikvahs were
constructed, who would go to the mikvahs of the prior era?
And how could you explain it to the neighbors – or to the
children attending public school, the children being taught
to melt into the great American melting pot. Well, they
didn’t just melt. They dissolved.
They were embarrassed in
America. Their friends went
to movies on Saturdays, and they did not want to be left
out. Their co-workers went to lunch, and they did not want
to be laughed-at for ordering only a salad. They gave up the
core of Judaism because, G-d rest their souls, they could
not handle the embarrassment. They didn’t have time for the
And the Reform institutions that were the only established
Jewish institutions when they arrived here made certain they
would be ashamed. Orthodoxy was mocked and derided. The very
name – “Orthodox” – was a derisive insult. Our grandparents
and great-grandparents were told that they and especially
their parents were buffoons and second-class morons. People
– friends, neighbors -- laughed at their parents, laughed at
struggling immigrants and refugees who could not speak
English or who spoke funny English. Immigrants with quaint
customs. And our grandparents and great-grandparents were,
oh-so-ashamed and humiliated, humiliated of their roots,
shamed by their parents’ poor English, embarrassed by
traditions that seemed alien to
And the landed Jewish institutions rubbed salt into the
wounds. The slogan became “polish for the Polish.” And so,
they built Jewish hospitals so Jewish doctors of German
descent could practice freely in America, safe from anti-Jewish
discrimination. And then they turned around and barred
Jewish doctors from Russia or Poland
– or even the American-trained first-generation children or
parents from East Europe – from practicing in the same Jewish
Hospitals. No Jews from East European heritage was permitted
to practice medicine at Mount SinaiHospital in
New York for several decades.
Their organizations initially denied leadership positions to
Jews from Eastern Europe – the American Jewish Committee,
the B’nai B’rith, the Jewish federations – all for Reform
Jews of German descent. Unbelievable – their contempt for
the ostjuden, for the Jews from the East.
And what the Reform Jews from Germany did to our East
European Ashkenazic grandparents and great-grandparents in
this world, that is precisely what the Socialist-Labor
Ashkenazi elite – or, at least, in their own minds they were
the elite – did to the 750,000 Sephardic Jews who arrived in
Israel during the 1940s and 1950s from Yemen and Tunisia,
from Syria and Egypt, from Morocco and Iraq and Iran. They
sprayed bug-spray on dignified and genteel men and women,
wearing elegant suits and dresses, as our Sephardic
ancestors arrived at Lod
Airport, as though they carried pests
unknown in the Middle East.
They barred people from driving buses for the Egged bus
company if they had the wrong affiliation. They barred
people from playing soccer professionally. They even drove
school custodians out of their jobs.
The Socialist-Labor Ashkenazic elite tore children – babies
-- from their parents and sent them to Socialist Labor
kibbutzim, separating them from their parents. “Where is our
child?” the parents of Tayman asked. And the Yemenites were
answered: “Your children died in the hospital.” And the
babies grew up with the gentle lullabies of Karl Marx and
the Secular-Socialist Philosophers of Ashkenazic Jewry . . .
instead of learning the Torah lessons of the Ben Ish Hai and
the Baba Sali.
If you did not speak Yiddish, you could not advance in the
of the Histadrut. You needed your Red Card. You had to take
vacation on May Day. They created a system there –
paralleling the situation here – that told our Sephardic
grandparents and great-grandparents: “If you want to get
ahead, if you want to make it in
Israel, then you get that
Torah out of your head, and you become secular. You get that
Sephardic heritage out of your head, and you become like us.
You want values? – go to our kibbutzim. You go to our
schools and learn our secular ways. Saturday is for
kadur-regel, soccer, and not for Torah. Modern Israelis do
not worry about the details of being kosher.
And, again, it was the awful, unbearable shame. The children
saw their grandparents laughed-at for speaking with
Sephardic accents. They saw the ways of Sephardic Jewry
mocked. The cooking, the culture. The secular curriculum of
the public schools tore it out.
Is it any wonder that an angry generation of Sephardic Jews
arose who want nothing of gefilte fish? Who mock the
Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim as the “Vuss-Vuss” people. And
who even refer to the Ashke-NAZIs? I may be Ashkenazi, but
it makes sense to me. Makes sense to me.
That is how the Crown of Sephardic Jewry lost its bond –
during the recent generations in Israel -- with the Torah of
the Babylonian Talmud that it created, and its bond with the
Rambam, Rav Yosef Karo, Rav Yehuda Halevi, Avraham Ibn Ezra,
Shlomo ibn Gabirol – all the great Sephardic Torah scholars
way down to the Me’am Lo’ez, the Ben Ish Hai, the Baba Sali,
and -- yibadel l’chayim -- the Chacham Ovadia Yosef.
And that is how the Crown of Ashkenazic Jewry was torn –
only during the past century -- from the Talmud, from Rashi
and the Ba’alei Tosfot, from the Rama - Rav Moshe Isserles,
the Vilna Gaon,
the Chofetz Chaim – all the way down to the greatest
Ashkenazic Torah giants of the past half century, Rav Aharon
Kotler, HaRav Hagaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein, and HaRav Hagaon
Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik.
We did not give up Torah and Jewish practice in America because “it does not make
sense in a modern world.” That is a myth. The Torah makes
perfect sense in the modern world. The Torah makes perfect
sense in a world where you cannot bring a child to a movie
that has family themes because an inevitable sex scene or
string of profanities will ruin it. In a world of video
games where, with the exception of the sports games and the
innocent Mario Brothers games, everything has some aspect of
violent anti-social behavior at its core. A world in which
no one stops for family anymore, in which the family dinner
is found only in reruns on Nickelodeon.
A world where people sign up 5 nights a week, 52 weeks a
year, to make fools of themselves – on one dating television
show after another, not to mention the sensationalist talk
shows. Not to mention the “reality” shows. “Joe Millionaire” – real reality, that. Evan gets
$500,000. Zora gets $500,000. And, as they say, “Shalom al
Yisroel.” Or “Survivor” shows, where people eat toasted
rats. Yeah, that’s reality.
Or the ultimate exercise in mass Lashon Hara and Public
Embarrassment, where a TV network advertises heavily and
posts billboards to encourage millions to devote their
weeknight to watch a music executive from England shame,
embarrass, deride, and humiliate teenagers on national
television. (And what would he have said to Bob Dylan?)
The Torah makes perfect sense – here and now. More than
Rather, we gave it up because the foolish, watered-down
version of Judaism that they presented to us was bogus –
and, sadly, we did not yet have a landed group of
Americanized Orthodox rabbis on the scene here to shout – as
in the “Emperor’s New Clothes” -- that “The Reform German
Emperor is naked -- not wearing a kittel or tzitzit or a
tallit or even a yarmulke. Nor clothed in Judaism, for that
matter. And the prayer book is naked – empty of Hebrew and
of Longing for Zion.”
America, Judaism stopped
becoming about Torah and Study and Shabbat – and it just
became about money. “Look at how fancy my Temple is. I do not send my child to Jewish
Day School – and my child never goes to synagogue – and my
child has not even met a Rabbi – but look at how splashy his
bar mitzvah is! Look at the 25-piece orchestra! Did you ever
before see Chopped Liver sculpted like that -- to look like
Somehow, the vision of Judaism was lost. The Idea of Judaism
was suppressed. And, if Judaism has even been about
anything, it is about An Idea. The Idea that the intellect
of Abraham introduced to the world. The Idea that Yitzchak’s
fear and Yaakov’s passion disseminated. But German Reform
and Israeli Socialist Secularism buried the idea in so much
philosophical compost. We stopped dancing in the synagogue
at Simchat Torah and laughing in the synagogue on Purim.
Instead, we created a money-culture that turned even the Day
of Penitence – the Holy Yom Kippur -- into an Ahmanson
Theater and a Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where Temples – and
now synagogues – got the idea that we better sell tickets
for admission because “we won’t see them again until next
What a mess! And what message does it send to children – as
Kinky Friedman sings, “you need your ticket and your tie to
zip your prayers on through.” If only we could explain to
kids that it is not supposed to be like this. Jews are
supposed to donate lovingly throughout the year, and then a
shul could meet its budget. But, in
America, we must appeal on
How horrible it has become, as we replaced the rich culture
of Torah study and religious practice that sustained us
through 2,000 years of Diaspora – and we replaced it with a
Country-Club temple and a HolocaustMonument
in every town and village.
And there was a similar shortage of contemporary, studied
Israeli-born-and-educated Torah scholars in Israel, children
of Sephardic yeshivot and the Hesder program, who could
teach the same message to the emerging generations of
Sephardic Jewry there. It was the Chacham Ovadia Yosef, who
led the way back for so many. And the Chacham figured out
that – if it’s OK to spend tens of millions of Shekalim to
keep bailing-out and propping up the massive failure of the
Socialist Ashkenazic Kibbutzim, then it is OK to have
Shekalim spent on the needs of Sephardic Torah institutions
and Arei Pituakh, the Development Towns.
So, we must ask: has Hitler won a posthumous victory in the
campaign he launched to make the Jews vanish from the earth?
Has Hitler won? Shall we disappear in
and our Torah be abandoned?
And have the Founders of Ashkenazic Socialist-Labor
posthumously achieved their vision of a Marxist utopia of
godless kibbutzim in the Promised Land?
At times, it seems that they have won. Or almost have won.
When a public school in a community that is 77% Jewish is
too ashamed of its Jewish community to admit that it is
closed on Yom Kippur because it is Yom Kippur – and instead
posts a sign that says “Closed on October 6 for Fall Recess”
– it seems they have won.
But The Book remains. The Sefer Torah remains. And as long
as we preserve, cherish – and reopen -- The Book, learn it,
and teach it to our children to speak its words –
v’shinantam l’vanekha v’dibarta bam b’shivt’kha b’vetekha u-v’lekht’kha
ba-derekh uv’shakhb’kha u-v’kumekha -- then the inexorable
march of Jewish history continues.
In avoiding that error, we also must recognize that, in all
fairness, no one intelligent, sophisticated, and fair-minded
should abandon something so precious as a faith and a
heritage that bound us for 4,000 years as a people – unless
she, at least, has had a good solid exposure to what it is
that she is abandoning.
Look at our American philosophy of education. We study math
– through high school. But maybe I don’t want to be a
mathematician or an accountant? We study science – through
high school. But maybe I don’t want to be a scientist or a
doctor? We study history – through high school. But maybe I
don’t want to be a historian (or a rabbi)? We study
literature – through high school. But maybe I don’t want to
be a writer or read those dumb books? Maybe I just don’t
care. Maybe math has no meaning to me. Maybe science is
boring. Maybe history is irrelevant to Now. Maybe I just
want to read “Spiderman” comic books. Maybe I am not
interested – and I just want to be left alone. Leave me
alone! I want to be a basketball player or a baseball
announcer or a teenage American Idol. I want to spend my day
reading about Britney Spears’s navel and Justin Timberlake’s
piercings. Or maybe, with all due respect, I just want to be
left alone at home, so I can play video games and listen to
Well, guess what? We don’t leave our kids alone. Not in our
society. Not we. No way – Yossi! And that’s not all. We give
them extra stuff. We give them dancing. And we give them
piano. And we give them extracurricular activities. “You
don’t want to be a pianist? Fine. But you still will thank
me some day that you missed three years of baseball with
your friends so you could master the musical scale.”
And that is the kind of Torah knowledge we should be giving
our children. Not just Sunday school. Not just Hebrew
afternoon school. Not just a few grades. But all the way
through high school – and at a real Jewish day school. We
have several from which to choose in this Valley and in this
City. Think of it is an extracurricular program – like
dancing. A chance for your children to learn how to dance.
And – of the greatest importance – we should be bringing our
children to synagogue each and every Shabbat. Even if we are
not there. We owe it to them. So, at least, they can have a
fair opportunity to make their own, independent decision to
abandon their heritage.
And then -- if that child tells you after high school, after
12 full academic years’ exposure to meaningful Jewish
education, after attending synagogue most every Shabbat
through childhood and the teen years, that he wants to
abandon and just-plain chuck the heritage and faith that has
bound 4,000 years of Jews -- and that has been unbroken
through persecutions from the Crusades along the Rhine River
to the Almohads of Spain and the Mamluks and Maghrebs —well,
at least then it is a fair decision, a fair choice. It is
the Apikorus of Vilna
telling the Vilna Gaon that “I have studied the Talmud, and I am
abandoning it.” And then, like the Gaon of Vilna,
we can say “good-bye” with a respectful sense that, at
least, you have been exposed to Judaism in its deepest,
fullest – and most mature -- sense.
Because a Bar Mitzvah is not enough – although it can be a
great start. A Bat Mitzvah – alone – is not enough. A year
spent learning to master a single page of Haftorah Hebrew is
a waste of time. What will be done with it later? It is like
a comet in the sky. It passes in four minutes, and then you
wait a year or two before it reappears again in your
hemisphere – again, only for three minutes. A year of
pleasant Bible Stories and Hebrew Letters dancing on honey
cakes is not enough.
We would never be satisfied teaching our children only
addition and subtraction – but no multiplication or
division. Only prose but no poetry. Only a family history or
a history of the state – but nothing about history of our
country or of the world.
And it is not enough that they learn American history only
in 8th grade. We make them learn it again in 11th grade.
Well, the Torah and Judaism that we teach to 11th graders
also is richer than what we teach in elementary school. A
Jewish education, if it is honest, must extend through 12th
grade in high school. And a child must attend the synagogue
every week. They can attend the prayers. Or they can attend
the Kids’ Program. No one says it has to be for three hours
-- let them come for only an hour. Come at until . But they have to come.
I spoke on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah about my
grandfather, who came here. He had limited dreams – his
dream was to survive, to make an honest living. And his
super-dream was to see his sons go to college in America and to see his daughters marry someone
else’s sons who went to college in America. I told you that my
grandfather himself never dreamt of going to college himself
– that was off his radar screen, outside his remotest
possible dream. And I told you that, like my grandfather,
our generation also may have to satisfy itself with the
dream that, at least, our children can return to the faith
and fold of 4,000 years – and, even that, only if we get
But I did not tell you everything about my grandfather. He
also did something else: he started learning English. Zaydie
– my grandfather – always spoke English with a heavy accent.
But at least his English reached a level that was
comprehensible and coherent.
And, you know what? So can you enter the study of Torah and
Judaism. If not achieving the beautiful level of a learned
native, then at least the comprehensible and coherent Torah
of an intelligent newcomer who has returned to the path in
midlife. Yes, maybe you never will learn Torah, beginning at
age 40 or 50 or 60, the way that your child can be given the
opportunity to study and to learn the Jewish heritage. But
you can start. You can begin on the road to comprehension,
comprehensihibility, and coherency.
Who knows? You might surprise me. You might surprise
yourself. And you might surprise your child.
It may take you a whole year just to learn the Bible books
of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel I. And that assumes that you
attend regularly – and all year. It may take you a whole ‘nother
year to learn Samuel II, Kings I, and Kings II. But in 4 or
5 years, if you stick with it, you can learn most Books of
the Bible with a Rabbi.
How about that?
It may take you a whole year to study only 3 or 4 pages of
the Talmud. But those 3-4 pages may be more than you have
studied the previous 30 years. Or in your entire life. It
may take you five years to study a single chapter of the
Talmud. When you consider that the Artscroll Talmud now is
in its 62nd volume, and still continuing, it does point to
the limits you may ever reach. Even the greatest Torah
scholars, studying at the rapid-fire pace of a two-sided
folio every day, need seven years to study the entire
But at least you can begin.
I understood Zeydie when he once tried helping me with my
homework in elementary school. He was comprehensible and
coherent. And your children could understand your cockamamie
Hebrew reading and pronunciation – your limited background,
your beginner status --when you sit with them to help them
with their Talmud or Bible or Rashi homework. But you gotta
start. The Torah may not be in the Heavens, too far above us
to ever reach it. The Torah may not be across the ocean, too
far away to access it. But, on the other hand, it ain’t in
the Bar Mitzvah Haftorah either, and it’s not in the Chopped
Liver. It is in books, and – like all books – it does
limited good there until you open it and begin to learn it.
That is this year’s challenge – to begin. To begin real,
honest-to-goodness Torah learning.
That is this year’s challenge – to begin.
Finally, I need your help to make this year -- and this
vision --succeed. One year ago, I stood before you and
promised to help you build a congregation and a community.
We had ten family memberships at the time. Remember – only
ten founding families? I was ambitious and hoped that we
would double our committed paying memberships to 20 by this
night. Well, we did not quite double. Rather, with G-d’s
abundant help and gracious mercy, we actually tripled – to
30 paying and active family memberships. A membership is
$1200 for a family, or $650 for a single. And we never turn
away any family membership applicant for lack of funds. That
is, we will work with you if you need a discount.
We inaugurated a Navi Class – a Bible Class in the prophets.
It began small, with 4 or 5 people attending regularly. And
then it took off. We now enjoy attendance of 20-and-more
people every Tuesday night at Tanakh / Bible Class. More
than half our families attend regularly. This is
extraordinary, and it has laid the foundation for
inaugurating a Talmud Class this year.
Similarly, we started our shul with only a very few kids and
no program. Now we get 20-30 children every Shabbat, with
many in the ages between 7 and 13 – and with many teenagers,
too. We have a program for the children that will be in
place right after the Holidays. The kids will daven
together, and they will learn ethics and values togther. An
hour a week – while the adults learn at the sermon and then
proceed to daven formal Musaf or to participate in the
separate and simultaneous Beginners Service and Siddur
As newcomers started arriving in goodly numbers, we offered
a class for our adult beginners to learn to read Hebrew
letters. Nothing fancy – just the basics. And then we
inaugurated our weekly Shabbat Beginners Service and Siddur
Class that regularly attracts 8 – 15 people. That class
offers a new level of meaning to the service for those who
seek it. And, in time, it will funnel real worshippers into
the heart of the main service, even as new Beginners arrive.
We are proud of our Shabbat services. The davening is
punctuated by community singing. A D’var Torah – a sermon –
seeks to enlighten. Our children lead part of the service,
and we conclude with a great kiddush every week. Just the
kiddush is an attraction. And many newcomers arrive at every Shabbat – to catch
the 30-minute teaching sermon, the 30-minute Beginners
Service, and the kiddush. Whatever wets your whistle.
We now have a great website – youngisraelofcalabasas.org or
dot-com. We run an amazingly fun Purim, and then we do this
great community Purim Meal the next day. We have a Shabbat
Meals–Visitors program that provides visitors and guests a
steady tour of homes where they can visit Shabbat-observant
family, be entertained, and have a great Shabbat family
meal. We have a great community party on Chanukah, and we
have another great one on Lag B’Omer. We learn Torah late
into the night on Shavuot. And we even sponsor a Night of
Comedy that actually offers lotsa laughs without dirty words
or dirty jokes.
For Sukkot, we provide the service of ordering your lulav
and etrog – and, because of our unique philosophy, all
lulavim and etrogim are ordered from a Jewish community in
Judea and Samaria.
We do not participate in the French boycott of Jewish
settlements in the West Bank. Rather, we bank on those Jewish communities.
And we are moving closer to needing a more identifiable
Not everyone remembers what I said at this place one year
ago, last Yom Kippur. Many thought I was “California
Dreamin’ ” when I said it, but I said that it is time for a
shul in Calabasas to be seen at its own identifiable
location. I said that we would grow, and we would find a
place of our own.
And now I turn to you. We presently are in serious
discussions regarding several possible sites we can rent for
a shul. This is very hard stuff, and it costs money. But so
does food, and so does clothes, so does medicine, and so
does anything of value. And how can we ask G-d to hear our
prayers if we cannot and do not create a home for Him to
repose in our midst?
We are looking at leases that will cost $5,000 a month,
maybe six thousand, to rent and establish a House of G-d
right here in Calabasas. Already, an anonymous donor has
pledged $25,000 towards our campaign. That donor has
challenged us to raise $25,000 from “matching sources” in
order to qualify for his gift. And we have raised that.
We have an incredible agenda for the coming year, and I am
asking your help to help us in two ways. First, you can
pledge to become a member. Membership is $1200 – for singles
it is $650 – and it is the way that you identify and give
voice to who you are, to what you believe. I am asking you
to stand now and pledge to become a new member of the Young Israel of Calabasas – that’s us --
or to renew your membership in our shul for this Year 5764.
And, second, I am asking you to rise to pledge a gift to
help us realize our dreams. So that we may rent a site we
can call our own. So that our Youth program may further grow
and be formalized. And so that – as we touched 20 new
families this past year whose lives have changed
dramatically as they never could have anticipated even a
year ago – we may reach 20 more families in the coming year,
and 20 in the year after, and 20 in the year after that. Why
should we not have 100 families davening with us every
Shabbat, right here in Calabasas, in four or five years from
now? Why not have a Youth Program servicing 100 kids, from
ages 7 and up? Why not a Shabbat eruv? Why not a walking
community on Shabbat of people promenading up and down
Parkway Calabasas, greeting each other with “Shabbat
Please help us with your tax-deductible gift, and then
challenge us to live up to the dream.
May you be sealed by Hashem in the Books that assure the
fulfillment of all your warmest dreams. G’mar khatimah tovah.