Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Night to Remember

(This speech in its entirety was given at Temple Zion's First Annual "Miracle on Maryland" Dinner Dance, August, 17th, 2014)

When we first began planning our shul’s First Annual “Miracle on Maryland Dinner Dance” – the question arose – why are we calling it this? What’s the miracle? So, in case you too are wondering why…

It was long-time Temple Zion member, Eileen Margulies, who coined the term - in reference to the remarkable “staying power” of our little “Shul by the Sea.”  A shul that’s had its share of challenges. 

There was a time I’m told for one example-- when we needed a costly new air-conditioning system.  At another point, the lettering on one or both of our Torahs were fading and in need of repair.  After Hurricane Sandy, our building required a labor-intensive clean-up.  And of course – there are perpetual issues of too membership growth, engagement and survival.

Yet somehow, someway, in Eileen’s own words -- “We always seem to get what we need.”

I’d have to agree.  Miracles – it seem, take many shapes and sizes.

In recent years– we’ve gone from virtually no youth programming to organized Kid Clubs, activities, a Talmud Torah class and increased child participation across the board. 

We’ve experienced the loss of a beloved long-time Rabbi, hired another rabbi, and endured a period without a Rabbi  -- before searching out and being sent a gift – in our own Rabbi Daniel Vinik. 

There was also the complete renovation of our social room.  Sitting together here, enjoying the amazing ambiance of ABRAHAM HALL, feels nothing short of miraculous.

Is it all just luck?  Maybe.  I personally like to think otherwise.   I like to believe that prayer works.  And that no good deed goes unnoticed. 

There are two people within our membership who take that phrase to a very high level.  Their commitment to our synagogue is just awesome. 

Having the opportunity to work behind the scenes with our president, David KoegeI, I am truly inspired by his faith, sense of responsibility to his role here, and how he manages to show up Shabbos after Shabbos after Shabbos.  And he doesn’t simply just show up – he shows up with a genuine care, concern and compassion for our shul family. 

David has always been the first to support our youth programming and marketing initiatives.  And he remains in close contact to ensure the success of our efforts –lending advice, guidance and words of encouragement along the way.

And while we’re especially grateful when Joy Koegel appears at Temple Zion with deliciously home-baked goods in hand – her dedication to and affection for our shul community can be felt even when she’s not here.

I don’t know too many wives who would encourage their husbands to maintain a second job that has no set time-clock to punch, no health plan, vacation pay or benefits other than its own intrinsic rewards -- but Joy thankfully does. 

Joy’s not afraid of getting her hands dirty either–when it comes to pitching in around here.  Not only does she consistently cheer on our programming efforts, but after many of these events –she can be found in the kitchen --clad in an apron and gloves- helping to clean up the mess.

As parents, it’s easy to see how loved and admired David and Joy are and how dedicated they are to their beautiful, kind and talented daughters, Cassandra and Alexa.

So, let’s make a toast to them both…

David and Joy…Thank you for your many years of service.  Thank you for giving of your time, your hearts and for setting a tone of warmth, acceptance and spiritual growth here.  I look forward to sharing more simchas and G-d willing --- witnessing more miracles at Temple Zion with you.

Enjoy every minute of tonight, as it is so well deserved.  You are a very inspirational couple.  G-d Bless You and Your Family.  Mazel Tov!
Copyright 2014 by Erika Prafder.



















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