By Phyllis Denaburg.
On the final weekend of Sukkot we welcomed new and recently returned members in the sukkah on a lovely sunny but cool afternoon. We expanded the traditional concept of ‘ushpizin’ – welcoming guests to the sukkah – to include our newest members.
Rabbi Yael Splansky spoke briefly about the different types of members that there are, and how like a lulav (and its component parts) and etrog – all contribute and participate in their own way, and of course, all are welcomed. Joan Garson, our President, spoke about the excitement in the air at Holy Blossom Temple, with our Renewal of both space and spirit. And she shared about our social action focus – including the HBT Social Action trip to Israel, and helping Syrian refugees. Cantor Beny Maissner led us in a song of welcome.
Continuing on with our welcome and social action theme, we then moved inside to socialize and pack small bags of toiletries and snacks for guests of our Out of the Cold Program when we welcome them to the first program of the year. Just as the sukkah is temporary shelter, our 22 week program serves dinner to over 100 guests, and provides overnight shelter and breakfast to approximately 40 guests from the beginning of November to the end of March.
The Sukkah reception is the first program of the year for new and recently returned members organized by the Navigator Program, part of the Membership department. Navigators contact new members and help them find their way into our Temple community. Navigators are there to help new members to meet other members, explore courses, lectures, services and activities, as well as generally be a resource. If you want to be contacted by a Navigator or want to volunteer as a Navigator, please contact Yael Scutaru, Director of Membership.