President: Josh David
I am writing this article from the Temple while working an overnight shift at H.E.L.P. Week. Every year, Rodef Sholom joins local churches to operate a traveling shelter for guests who have no place else to go. H.E.L.P., which stands for Hampton Roads Ecumenical Lodgings and Provisions, was started in 1982 with a stated mission to “to serve the homeless and those in crisis by providing shelter, food, financial assistance, medical and dental care.” This year, H.E.L.P. opened the shelter in late October and will continue to operate it through mid-April. Rodef Sholom has traditionally taken the week in which Christmas falls so that the participating churches won’t have to have members spend time away from their families to staff the shelter during Christmas. This year, we were asked to take our turn one week early, so our first night was December 17th, and our guests will leave the morning of December 24th. Breakfast is served each morning, guests are required to leave during the day, and we serve dinner each evening. Hosting the shelter even for one week is a substantial undertaking. There are sixty-seven guests signed in tonight, and it takes many hours to buy food, cook, get ready to house, and staff the shelter for that many people. I want to thank Susan Longman for leading this year’s organizational charge. She has been at the forefront of the effort for several years and was challenged this year by having a different week when a few of the old standby volunteers weren’t available to take their usual shifts. Jim Barnett was once again deeply involved, particularly in raising the approximately $3,000 that it takes to host the shelter for just one week. I also want to recognize Tova Warren and Sarah Pscheidt for leading the food-buying effort. Many, many others volunteered their time and gave generously, so I want to thank everyone who played a role. Susan is looking to pass on the leadership mantle to a new person, so please talk to her of you are interested. She promises to show you the ropes and tell you all you need to know before cutting you loose to do it on your own.
Before we let it fade into the history books, I want to revisit our celebration of Rabbi Dror’s ten years with Rodef Sholom. We had a wonderful event on December 3rd that truly showcased the very best that Rodef Sholom has to offer. We had almost 300 people attend the event, which took place over and following a Shabbat morning service. From the bema, Rabbi commented that she knew that a lot of people had been working on the event but had no idea just how many people were involved until she saw the program unfold. In addition to a large committee, led by Jane Susan Frank, Robin Murov, and Libby David, every segment of Rodef Sholom contributed to and participated in the event. The Religious School students, under the direction of Tess Goldblatt, made a tallit for Rabbi with which Judie Kavit was deeply involved. Sarah Pscheidt led a small singing group who performed during the service. The outstanding lunch was made entirely be congregant volunteers, including quite a few former regulars who came out of retirement just for this event. This doesn’t touch upon everyone who participated in the service, which was led by Roy Lasris, read Torah, and made presentations and gave tributes to Rabbi Dror. In addition to all of that, we raised over $50,000, the vast majority of which is being used to establish the Rabbi Gilah Dror Endowment Fund, which will be used for years to come to support special programs and other needs of Rodef Sholom. The celebration was just a warm, wonderful event, and I want to thank everyone who helped make it so.
Happy Chanukah, and I hope to see you at Rodef Sholom in 2012.
Josh David, President