The Benefits of Giving to this Community (or Allow Me to Nudge You)
Why do I volunteer at Temple Sinai? My motives are to some degree selfish: there are many benefits inherent in giving to this community. I enjoy singing — and I get to do plenty of it — in the choir, with the temple’s Tin Pan Alley Singers. I especially enjoy singing at services when I have the opportunity to substitute for the Cantor. I admit I also enjoy badgering other members of Sinai into participating in the temple as a community — to usher, to donate their blood, to make calls wishing congregants a Shanah Tovah or a Gud Pesach. For it is the Sinai community that I most value.
~ Phil Rubin
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“Sinai is a place of wonderful friendships and support — comfort from both the community and the clergy…”
Sinai is a place of wonderful friendships and support — comfort from both the community and the clergy in good times and hard times. I love that Temple Sinai is such a welcoming community and offers a wide variety of programs and activities for everyone from all walks of life — there’s something for everyone! I joined the choir almost 30 years ago, and the beautiful melodies and inspiring leadership of George Emblom and Cantor Keys have become an important part of my life. I have also participated in the Purim spiel for several years. This is always great fun!
~ Sandra Goldberg
“Leading a meaningful service requires a presence and the ability to engage…”
For more than a decade I have been entrusted with the sacred task of leading the congregation in prayer when Cantor Keys is away. While the singing and guitar playing take an hour or two during the service, my commitment extends well beyond the time we share during services. Leading a meaningful service requires a presence and the ability to engage the congregation. It takes time to prepare the service, to learn new music and to practice. There are times when I am not physically or emotionally “up” for the challenge. Yet I find that even on those rare reluctant occasions the benefits outweigh any misgivings. When I’m singing on the bimah I am connected to the community, and I am grateful for the honor and privilege to serve our congregation.
~ Valerie Sopher
“One of us had been raised “conservadox” and the other ultra-reform, and we were searching for a community…”
When we moved to the Bay Area over 12 years ago, we visited many synagogues seeking the right one for our family of two moms and two adopted kids from Guatemala. One of us had been raised “conservadox” and the other ultra-reform, and we were searching for a community that would both welcome us and meet our spiritual needs. We wanted a forward-thinking community that was also firmly rooted in Jewish law and tradition. From the first time we visited Temple Sinai we knew that we had found our spiritual home. In the years since, we have become deeply connected to Temple Sinai through Board service, lay leadership, the deep and lasting connections we have formed with other congregants, and through both of our children becoming B’nei Mitzvah. We cannot imagine another synagogue meeting the needs of our family as broadly as Sinai does and we look forward to many years of celebrating together.
~ Debra R. Schoenberg, Esq., CFLS
“Working together on projects has helped me form deep connections with people who have become precious friends. And it’s fun!”
We had long sought a synagogue but hadn’t found a spiritual home when, about 40 years ago, Dan and I were introduced to Temple Sinai by my childhood friend, Ricki Oleon. Rabbi Broude was warm and welcoming, engaged in social action, and not concerned that Dan was not Jewish. We joined and, inspired by Rabbi Broude’s passion and sense of humor, Dan converted. Rabbi Chester led our daughters’ B’not Mitzvah and confirmations, and they also bonded with Temple Sinai and Judaism. They made great friends, loved discussing ethics in religious school, and both became youth group presidents. Now our grandson is in his first year at the Temple Sinai preschool — he arrived his first day announcing, “I’m here!”
The heart of Temple Sinai is its special and warm community, for which I am so grateful. What continues to cement my relationship with temple, in addition to our wonderful clergy’s thoughtful leadership, are the friendships I’ve made through WTS and the Social Action Committee. Working together on projects that benefit the temple and the community beyond has helped me form deep connections with people who have become precious friends. And it’s fun!
~ Natalie Crouch
“…we walked through the heavy wooden doors and sat in the back. I looked at the Ark, the stained-glass windows, listened to the chatter around me and I knew…”
When my husband and I first attended a Temple Sinai Shabbat evening service soon after starting a family about 30 years ago, we walked through the heavy wooden doors and sat in the back. I looked at the Ark, the stained-glass windows, listened to the chatter around me and I knew: "This is home." “Home” is a place where people can find strength being together and can also disagree; where we can delight and connect in shared history; where we develop and continue traditions; where we can go quietly within and engage with others. I knew I would “fit” and that my family would be comfortable with and connected to Judaism here.
I have also met some of my dearest friends at temple, working on important projects like disabilities, sex trafficking, people who are undocumented, support for other congregants, women's issues, standing with our Muslim neighbors, hungry and needy children and families and more. Engaging in temple life connects me with my past and feeds my soul. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah at 57, writing prayers for WTS' Women's Shabbats, participating in services and sitting on the bimah – my temple life also offers a model for my children who remain very connected to Temple Sinai. I have attended shivas at the homes of many congregants and, when it was sadly my turn to be in mourning, the care and sensitivity I received from the clergy and the temple community was deeply comforting. During a difficult time in my life, I sat alone in the sanctuary after services, long after others had left. Soon after, the Rabbi called me to see if I was ok. This is a home.
~ Karen Tanner