In renewal, stories

Honouring family, and family history, through Renewal giving

The remarkable thing about how our congregation engages with, and gives to, our Renewal Project, is how deeply personal it is for all. How it’s given our congregants a chance to reflect on and explore the nature of their relationship to our synagogue. What it is that binds us together and to Temple. How Holy Blossom makes us feel and how we might express that feeling through the mitzvah of Renewal giving.

Every week we have more meetings and begin brand new conversations with congregants who wish to give. And we hear their stories. About their children and the value of a Jewish upbringing and education. About their parents and grandparents and how our members want to remember and honour them by donating to the project (even if they were not Holy Blossom members themselves.)

And so, one of the ways we’d like to use this space in [email protected] is to tell our unique and wonderful donor stories. Not only to honour the stories themselves and the Temple relationships they reflect – but also to hear how these deeply felt stories drove their generosity and, ultimately, to encourage more giving from our membership. Such is the value of the story, beyond the gift itself.

Below, just one of these stories. It’s told in the first person by Larry Enkin – the son of Max Enkin – a man who was vital to Holy Blossom for so many decades, and served selflessly in multiple leadership roles … culminating with his being named Honourary Life President of our Temple. Our Boardroom proudly bears the name of Max Enkin and will continue to do so for many years to come.

The specific theme of the renewal article is honouring one’s family through a gift to renewal …

“Just as you did with your father and the Max Enkin Library.”

Yes, I wanted to ensure that we do not forget the Temple’s history through those who served it with unflinching vigour, and constant dedication.

But I also wanted to be sure that we do not forget those who the Temple, in their wisdom, the congregation had remembered and honoured in the past, such as the Rabbis and certain individuals.

By continuing to honour those who were honoured by our congregation, we are remembering our history.

Max Enkin lived and breathed Temple concerns.  For as long as I can remember, the Temple and persons connected with it were the subject of friendship and interest in their well-being.

How frequently, dinners were shared with Temple members and leaders, and often I felt we were the last ones to leave the Temple at the end of a service.

I was away from Toronto for 35 years. On return, I often sat with my father at services and again was made aware of the high esteem in which he was held.

Temple renewal has swept away many of the tensions in the congregation. With the current leadership of Rabbis and Board once again we have a promising future – in itself that is a renewal.

It’s worth noting at the end of this piece, that we are working very hard (a committee has been struck and is devoted to this task) to find appropriate ways to honour our Temple’s historical donors and honourees. As you can imagine, it is a sensitive, individualized process – one that spans almost a century of giving – for which there is no easy, one-idea-fits-all, solution. The process is going to take some time, but we are committed to getting it done right.

If you wish to honour a family member with a donation to Renewal, we’d very much like to hear your story. We will be reaching out to you, but there is no need to wait for our call. Our Director of Development, Jonathan Ain, can be reached at [email protected] or 416.789.3291 ext. 249.

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