Congregants at “Ohel Avraham” come together not only for holiday celebrations but also for the important moments in each other’s lives. As Congregation “Ohel Avraham” grew over the past few years, synagogue leadership started setting up modest subcommittees within the Va’ad, or leadership council.
Rabbi Na’ama suggested starting a Caring Community subcommittee. After being touched that, during her time of need, congregants supported her with meals and visits, Rachel Rose Shalev agreed to chair the subcommittee. In an interview a few months ago, she said, “we want to be a community that offers support for people who need it, either in times of strife or even in good times to know that they’re not alone.”
Rachel began as the only committee member, though other congregants help the committee thrive. People cook, drive, being food, buy things, etc. People identify a need in the community and contact Rachel, who finds people to help. Now, she and others are thinking about how to expand the committee, a testament to its success. Shula Vardi, a congregant and beneficiary of Caring Community, spoke to this success, sharing that members of the congregation made her feel like she is part of the Kehilah – the Community. She is “proud” to belong to the synagogue, which she calls “a real family.”
The warmth that people bring to the Caring Community permeates throughout aspects of synagogue life. As Rachel said, “It’s a priority for us to make sure that our congregants feel that they are a part of a community, in rain and in shine.”
Written by Talia Kaplan