This is the last High Holidays Appeal email you'll get from me. Unlike the other emails, I'll keep this one short.
PHS is a special and important place, but this year is more uncertain than ever. The shul needs your support; if you haven't done so already, please give to our annual High Holidays appeal.
As we approach Yom Kippur, I’d like to take a moment to urge you to contribute to our annual High Holidays appeal. Our appeal represents the single largest fundraising source for the shul outside of our membership drive. It goes without saying, but this has been a very unusual year, and we’ve faced a host of new challenges as we’ve confronted the impacts of this pandemic.
It feels like a lifetime ago, but back in early March of this year, it was not hard to feel extremely optimistic about PHS’s future. We had started davening in our new space at 1027 Pacific, and even though we still had some kinks, the sheer intimacy and warmth of the space created a beautiful sense of community. After years in the desert, we had found a home.
Then, of course, Coronavirus threw a huge wrench in our lives and in our community. The last 6 months have been painful and jarring for all of us. Some of us have lost loved ones, some have encountered financial difficulties. Some of us have been overwhelmed, or lonely, or scared.
But even in a time of Coronavirus, we still fought hard to continue serving and operating as a shul. We organized virtual davenings (such as our beautiful Pride Shabbat, led by Adena Korn), and when it was safe, we found an outdoor lot and starting hosting outdoor tefilah in accordance with local guidance to the credit of the many who attended, we have made every single minyan we organized. We put together care packages for our community to feel a little closer to each other and the shul, and hosted virtual social events so we could see each other’s faces. When our neighbors took the streets to protest their injustice as part of the Black Lives Matter protests, we met each other to process, to discuss, and to ready for action. And now we’re in the middle of the high holidays, organizing safe and meaningful davening and events for nearly 200 people in total.
We worked extra hard behind the scenes, too. Rabbi Leener worked to provide comfort and pastoral service to the grieving and the struggling. Through the Rabbi’s discretionary fund, we offered financial assistance to those who encountered rough financial waters.
None of this could have been done without the leadership of Rabbi Leener, the incredible effort of a range of volunteers, or the ongoing support of the whole kehilah kedoshah. A shul in a pandemic is a very different place — but it is still as urgently needed as ever. But we need you, too.
We need you because the first responsibility of a shul is to take care of its people, and we feel a special obligation to do so. We want to ensure we are well-funded to make sure everyone in our community is taken care of materially and spiritually. Our top priority is to ensure the Rabbi’s discretionary fund is sufficiently well-resourced to fully care for all of our community.
We need you to continue investing in PHS. We’ll continue to create in-person spaces that try to be as meaningful as possible while being maximally safe, including discovering and kitting out spaces that allow us to gather safely and as comfortably as possible throughout the winter. We’ll continue efforts like our community care packages. But we’ll also take advantage of being a virtual shul to provide great programming over Zoom. We’re organizing lecture series that draw on scholars who normally may not be accessible to our community
Lastly, we need you so we can invest in our shared future. There will be a day in the future when we’ll be able to resume operating as a shul again. When we’ll be able to reinvest in scaled kids’ programming and in-person kiddushes and singing loudly together. We need your support to be ready for that day, so that when that day happens we are financially ready to make our space and our shul into what we want it to be.
We need your time, your energy, and we need your financial support too. If you can afford to give this year, please donate.
May we all merit to have a safe and healthy 5781. G’mar Chatima Tova.