What Brings You Here? (Beth Bucheister)

The President’s note is purposeful if it provides information that , once read, is beneficial to congregants. The note needs to express the indebtedness of our staff, including our Rabbi, Executive Director, teachers, maintenance and office staff. The President’s note should highlight past and upcoming important synagogue events, fundraising efforts, school achievements, and our ability to bring joy and a sense of belonging to our community. There is no question that the entire Board of Trustees and me value the contributions of everyone we work with and serve. I am writing this just after the amazing Chanukah celebration with over 300 in attendance and the acquisition of a third year of the universal Pre-K program due to our successful reputation of providing wonderful services to the 4 years olds who attend this program in our building. I am very grateful that many people have expressed the feeling that North Shore Synagogue is a place to feel good, uplifted, and at home. We enter the year 2023 with excited anticipation of more good things ahead.

Everyone has their “thing” that brings them to 83 Muttontown Eastwoods Road. The Shabbat family and musical services bring people who enjoy a spirited and lively way to end one week and start another. Some Friday nights, there are those who come to remember loved ones on the anniversary of their passing. Parents come to bring their kids to Religious or Nursery School and for B’nei mitzvah lessons. Recently, one parent asked me how to show his daughter his connections to the synagogue while he was encouraging her to attend religious school. I told him that I love Torah Study. Every Saturday morning, there is a group of people that come together to try and understand this week’s torah portion. No Hebrew or prior knowledge required, is how it’s promoted. That might not sound as good as a game of pickleball or a round of golf or even sleeping late after a long week. And yet, it is an amazing time for those who attend. We read a text that was written thousands of years ago. We debate the importance of repeated words, why harsh punishment is presented as a solution, and how the writings of history can be applied today. When I think about being a Jewish woman in the Reform movement, I understand why I believe in the value of change. When I drive on Shabbat, I am not beating or harming an animal, when I turn on the lights in my home, I am not working to light a fire. And, through Torah study, I can respect the value of traditions being held that are not “modern.” Most importantly, attending Torah study is a place that I learn from our Rabbi, and other clergy or lay leaders who bring lessons from the parsha to those in the group. We end our study with a small service, a few pertinent prayers, as well as prayers for healing and remembrance. It is a small group where we can share, perhaps, why those names are important and by that action keep them in the hearts and minds of others.

I wish everyone a healthy and peaceful 2023. We will continue to have something for everyone here at North Shore Synagogue and I hope to see you all soon. Thank you for your continued support.