President’s Message

President’s Yom Kippur appeal

Good yuntif. I want to welcome everyone who has joined us in person and on Zoom. Bruce Lee said “mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them”  I want to apologize for any time in the past year when I may have knowingly or unknowingly offended anyone with my words or behavior. I ask your forgiveness and will strive to do better in the coming year.


Thank you to Rabbi Sklarz, our accompanist Susan Pereria, the choir, and all the volunteers who worked to make these services successful, and who work all year to keep the temple going. Thank you to Town Supervisor Jackie Annabi and the sheriff’s department for ensuring our safety during the holidays. Thank you, Cole, our technician. I watched how hard you worked to make the zoom experience as good as if people were physically here. 


As I was writing this, I started thinking about what RTPV means to me, and why I came and then stayed. I came because I moved up here from the city and wanted a place that fit my spiritual needs. I stayed because: RTPV is a place where I learn and grow as a Jewish adult; it’s a place that provides support during difficult times and shares happiness during the good times; it’s a place where I get opportunities to help others and perform Tikkun Olam; it’s a place where I have met amazing people and developed deep friendships. And finally, it is the place, where outside of my home, the lake or the woods, I feel most comfortable. I wonder, what does RTPV mean to you…what brings you here and keeps you here? What makes RTPV meaningful to you?

For whatever reasons you choose to be with us, we want to keep being here for you. Therefore, we are appealing to your compassion and generosity as we move into 5783. Frankly, RTPV is struggling. We are a small congregation. Because of COVID, the low dues, and the High Holiday ticket prices we still charge, the money we bring in does not come close to covering our expenses.  We have ongoing expenses like heat whether we’re in the building or not, and major capital expenses like roof and parking lot repairs, as well as always wanting to create a welcoming home for everyone. If it wasn’t for the generous donations from congregants and friends, we would not be able to continue offering as much as we do. Something I want to mention specifically…the new keyboard that we had to buy for these services because our old one died was $1000…and the equipment that Cole has used to make the zoom experience as good as it has been, like Michael before him, is theirs.. so when they leave, the equipment goes with them. Knowing that zoom will be with us forever, wouldn’t it be nice to have our own equipment so all our zoom services were of this quality?


We work hard to give our congregational family meaningful experiences with everything we do. Even when COVID meant all our services were virtual, we had some very successful events where we gathered as a family: outdoor services over the summer, social events like Israeli dance, nature walks, workshops and movies at the temple. We have also had virtual events like Havdalah and Rosh Chodesh services, and special Shabbat services, with incredible guests and speakers. And we still want to offer more, which is why I’m coming to you, asking you to dig deep and give what you can.


We need you to be able to continue this. We need people who can afford it, to give generously and perhaps consider sponsoring a person who cannot afford membership dues; we need non-members to become members, and members to volunteer. Our volunteers are the strength of the temple and we need your talents and skills. No matter your status, please consider supporting our fundraising events, like movie night and buying SCRIP cards…which don’t cost you anything but pay the temple when you use them.


This is something the rabbi likes to share. In the Midrash there is a story of an old man planting a fig tree. Someone walks by and asks if he really expects to live long enough to eat the fruits of his labor. He replies: “My ancestors planted for me, and I now I plant for my children and their children…” This congregation was here for those who came before us, including some of the original members who are still here. It is upon us, like planting a fig tree,  to work to make sure RTPV is here for future generations. We want to have a long life of service, and we can’t do it without you. Please be our partner in ensuring that RTPV continues to live and thrive. Thank you and G’mar chatimah tovah,”  May You be Inscribed and Sealed for a Good Year