Ed Balls Gala Dinner - Appeal

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Rabbi Rebecca’s speech and appeal on the occasion of the Gala Dinner:

Thank you Ed Balls. Thank you Richard Greene and thank you my brilliant friend Erica Wax who persuaded Ed to come.

You might expect me to talk about the roof, which does needs replacing. And the fact we run out of space every Shabbat morning, and the fact our windows are tired and the red carpet needs refreshing. All of this is true. Our building is our temple and it requires our love.

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But it is the relationships that make this community and that is why we must secure the future and health of this congregation.

I look around this room and over the 8 and a half years I have been with you I have learned so much about so many of your lives. Your illness, and losses some of them devastating and some easier to bear. The births of your children and the marking of their childhoods, I know who bounded up the steps of this Bimah and who needed more cajoling. I know who amongst you have wept here in this synagogue building and which of you have shared joy.

That is what I celebrate tonight that this is a community of deep connections. You have found your way here brought by parents or of your own volition. Motivated by loneliness, disappointment from other parts of the Jewish world or just where we are. The path of your life brought you to this threshold and as the conservative siddur describes’ it has been kind to straying feet’.

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Our liberal synagogue has been a home and a haven for many of you, who needed to find such a welcoming and tolerant place and some who fell in love with the congregation as they arrived. Perhaps greeted by one of the 4 rabbis over its past 66 years. We are a unique community, our messy shul with a soul. The only Liberal Jewish synagogue from St Johns Wood to Southgate.

It is the stories of people here that necessitate us to raise funds to allow us to move forward purposely and generously. To teach children well, to keep our teens, train and develop our young people. Offer learning and intellectual debate for all of us , offer music to uplift the soul, reach out to you in times of sadness accompany you through all your milestones/ rites of passage. And act on behalf and with us all for a just society.

We have much more work to do. A community gives a sense of belonging, structure and connection. We might argue that we have never needed that as much as now.

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The poet Raymund Carver wrote in his poem Fragments “And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth..

Finchley Progressive Synagogue tries hard to do that.

Please be generous.