Circle of Giving Remarks, Kol Nidre, October 2011
Thank you Rabbi Sklarz, Cantor Lipton, David Johnson and the choir for making our High Holy Day services so special. Our rabbi leads us in prayer, opening our hearts, and the beautiful music of our cantor and choir lift those prayers from our hearts up to heaven.
During this sacred time, we have a responsibility to ensure the strength and future of our congregation, and for that reason, I bring you a word from our sponsor, the GRS Annual Circle of Giving. A friend of mine used to talk about “BFOs” – no worries, I’m not going to swear on the bemah – a BFO is a blinding flash of the obvious. Unlike the Ten Commandments which our Lions of Judah hold so proudly on our historic ark, I have only five BFOs to share with you tonight:
- The Circle of Giving is the un-dinner dance: GRS started the Circle of Giving almost ten years ago, as an alternative to our earlier hodge-podge of fund-raising efforts, ranging from high holy day appeals and fair share donations to a smorgasbord of events, including dinner dances, journals, auctions, and more. It was confusing and costly; with the Circle of Giving, 100% of every dollar you give goes to help GRS provide the services and programs you want, unlike an auction, journal, or dinner dance, where over 50% of every dollar goes to pay for the event itself. The Circle of Giving also enables us to offer educational and social events throughout the year on an affordable, break-even basis.
- No coin left behind: The GRS staff and board does an amazing job of stretching every dollar as far as it can go – our careful no-waste, blood, sweat and tears budgeting process provides the fullest range of services at the least expense. The money you give, both in dues and Circle of Giving donations is invested in high quality staff and programs. If only the stock market provided such excellent, guaranteed return on investment (ROI)!
- The Circle of Giving is also the circle of receiving: The regular GRS membership dues are subsidized by about $1000 per family; not surprisingly, in this economy, many members cannot afford full dues – and tzedakah makes it the duty and responsibility of more affluent members to help those needing assistance.
- The need is greater than ever before: To ensure the health of GRS, we need to expand our membership, and increase enrollment in our religious school. If each member brought in one new member, our budget would be transformed; encouraging new families to experience GRS is another wonderful way for all to support the Circle of Giving.
- Time is money: Some us can afford to give financially, others offer their time as volunteers, and best of all, some are able to support GRS with both time and money. No matter what your schedule or area of interest, we need you! Feel free to use your Circle of Giving pledge card to note your area of interest as a volunteer, check the new GRS website (www.grs.org) or call the office for details.
So, if you have not already done so, please take one of the pledge cards you’ll find in your pew or prayer book, and make a generous pledge of money and time to help keep your synagogue strong. If you have already pledged, and can find it in your hearts and wallets to increase that pledge, we’ll be even more appreciative.
Helen Stark and I, co-chairs of the Annual Circle of Giving, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and wish you the happiest and healthiest of New Year’s.
Shonah Tovah Tikateivu.
Co-chairs, Annual Circle of Giving
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