In March, a small team of TBE clergy, staff, and lay leaders came together to figure out new ways for the TBE member community to engage during the pandemic. Thanks to the efforts of this small team—and the many members who volunteered to help—new connections were created across our community to assist those in need, whether they were isolated, overwhelmed at home, or struggling on the front lines.
As we scheduled check-in calls to members, connected people with common needs, and set up Zoom-based “schmooze” sessions, we realized the pandemic had provided us with a unique opportunity to engage TBE members in new and interesting ways.
Fast forward to the High Holy Days. TBE clergy and staff worked tirelessly to create the most meaningful online experience possible. A key piece was the creation of Shalom Kits, a set of guides and gifts for families of all ages, to help bring our beit Elohim into everyone’s home. With nearly 1300 member families, that’s a lot of Shalom Kits to assemble and distribute.
We estimated we’d need about 80 volunteers for these efforts. Using SignUp Genius, an online service, we set up volunteer sessions for the two weeks before Rosh Hashanah.
Within 48 hours of the initial e-mails asking for volunteers, all the slots were filled. I cannot think of a time when I’ve been prouder of our community. It is truly amazing what we can accomplish when we work together.
At one of the assembly sessions, a member asked, “When this is done, can we have another project?” That really says it all. Even in a pandemic, our community is ready to come together (socially distanced, of course), make new connections, and work on the things that truly matter.
My thanks to everyone who committed their time and energy to these efforts.