What’s Your Terumah (Your Personal Contribution)?

Help me make of my life something fine.

Help me take of the gifts which are mine

And create days of meaning and worth.

Help me see that from moment of birth,

Life was given to me through God’s grace

With skills taught that would help me to face

Life’s adversity and its success

Let firm faith help transcend every stress.

Let me give to the world all my love

And absorb from the world only love.

Help me sight in mankind the Divine

Conscious that all world’s children are ‘mine.’

Let me say while existence is mine

I will make of my life something fine.[1]

          Tonight begins my Grandma Lucille’s 4th Yahrzeit. My grandmother is the single greatest influence on my becoming a rabbi. She came to synagogue every Saturday at 8:45 am, 15 minutes early, eyes closed and prayerbook open. Though she rarely got passed the preliminary service, that was not important to her: what was important was to connect with the Holy One, blessed be God. She was the most spiritual person I have ever met.

          This week we read from the Torah that everyone should give a Terumah, or voluntary contribution. The Torah teaches מאת כל איש אשר ידבנו לבו,[2] everyone should give whatever his/her heart desires. What does your heart desire to give to Bet Shira Congregation for this celebratory year, its 36th, Double Chai, Anniversary? If you have the means to financially give a gift of gratitude towards our spiritual home, please do. If you do not, there are many additional ways one can give from his/her heart. My grandmother was not a woman of great financial resources, but she gave of her time, energy, and spirit to whichever synagogue she belonged. It is my hope and my prayer that each of us, if we have not already, will give a Terumah from the heart, a voluntary contribution to our House of Worship. This week Karina and I gave the largest amount we have ever given to Bet Shira in my grandmother’s memory. I hope you will join us, as well as the Israelites we read about in the Torah, in giving to something greater than ourselves: the sustaining of a House of God.

          Help me to know

          The preciousness of minutes.

Yield to me the consciousness to see

My purpose and my place within all timespan,

And each moment’s purpose within me.[3]

[1] Lucille Frenkel, Creation Wondrous (Milwaukee, WI: The Eternity Press, 2013)

[2] Exodus 26:2

[3] Lucille Frenkel, A Jewish Adventure (Milwaukee, WI: The Eternity Press, 1983)