A congregation is more than its Rabbis. A congregation is much more than its synagogue. In the history of our Congregation, we have had many rabbis and we have undoubtedly prospered because of them. In the history of our Congregation, we have worshipped at three separate buildings at two separate locations and have undertaken major remodeling of those synagogue buildings on several occasions. Undoubtedly, both the functionality and of the grandeur of our synagogue, and particularly of our sanctuary, have contributed to our success. However, while an ineffective Rabbi or an inadequate building can contribute to the failure of a congregation, every congregation ultimately depends on the devotion of its members. At our congregation, we have for many years depended on our Sisterhood and our Brotherhood.
Our Sisterhood was founded in 1920, and was then known as “The Ladies Auxiliary”. However, a ladies group of one sort or another has been active at the Temple since its inception. The first President of our Sisterhood was Hannah Victor. Our Sisterhood through the years has taken a large role in fund raising. It has been particularly active with education and youth activities Our Religious School has, from its early inception, benefitted from fund raising and other activities of the Sisterhood. Our Sisterhood was responsible, along with Rabbi Ephraim Frisch, for the institution of the Temple Bulletin. A succession of kitchens have been financed and maintained by the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood has traditionally provided the Temple with Oneg Shabbat receptions. Sisterhood has sponsored the Break-the-Fast after Yom Kippur for many years. Sisterhood also hosts a dinner annually for the Bat Mitzvah candidates. The Temple Judiaca Shop is run by our Sisterhood. But Sisterhood has been involved in more than fund-raising, food, and charitable activities; Sisterhood also sponsors a Women’s Torah Study and, annually, sponsors an Interfaith Shabbat for women from the community to come to the Temple, share Shabbat with us and learn the customs and values of our religion. Other activities include our Cradle Roll for the youngest members of our congregation.
Today, the Sisterhood has a new name, a new mission, and a new attitude. Sisterhood’s national organization is Women of Reform Judaism. While our Sisterhood once consisted primarily of women working in the home, Women of Reform Judaism now has members who work both inside and outside the home.
The Brotherhood, like the Sisterhood, was founded in 1920 with the encouragement of our Associate Rabbi at the time, Rabbi Sidney Tedesche. It was re-organized as “The Men’s Club” in 1940 and was re-organized again some years later. Since that time, Brotherhood has been an integral part of our congregation. Its most prominent fund raising activity has been the sale of tickets to Fiesta parades. The Brotherhood has long been involved in coordination and funding for educational activities. The Brotherhood has been the main source of local assistance for the Jewish Chatauqua Society, which provides books on Jewish subjects to area libraries and speakers to local colleges on topics concerning Judaism. The Brotherhood has also been involved in fund raising for the library and the audio-visual facility for the Religious School and was one of the major forces behind the establishment of the wonderful Bendiner Library that we have today. The Brotherhood provided the organ in the Chapel. It is responsible for our blood drives, our annual Beth-Elders Shabbat Dinner, our Passover Community Seder, and our Sunday programs. It also sponsors SAFTY camperships.
Our Brotherhood and our Sisterhood jointly send baskets to our college students on Chanukah and Pesach and provide gifts to our Religious School and Hebrew School teachers each year.