Gift Committee Revelations

It’s been an interesting and inspiring adventure for me personally, meeting those I had the opportunity to meet during our Gifts Committee visits in homes and elsewhere.  Every meeting has been enjoyable, informative, friendly, AND motivating.  I have learned and gained a lot. I would like to share with you now some of my realizations:
Admittedly, it hasn’t been easy scheduling all the meetings that we have had thus far, and there are many still to do, but when we do actually get to sit down with each other, Wow!, do we have a committed and supportive membership!  Yes, there are issues noted with certain directions the congregation may be going in, or changes in the congregation’s culture that individuals have fretted with over time, but overall, this is one hugely, strongly determined congregation all looking (even expecting) to see the synagogue continue to grow and serve the needs of the membership and the local Jewish community.
That brings me to my next point–I am particularly inspired to hear so many individuals comment on the need of the congregation not to support just those needs of the current membership, but really on the opportunity this congregation has to serve the larger needs of the local (Collin County) Jewish population.  One of my personal interests/inspirations for the new building is to build a “home” not just for us, but for the many unaffiliated Jews that live nearby to have and use as they need.  I am strongly encouraged by how many share that same sentiment.
Another really significant inspiration for me has been the value ascribed to the Religious School (as has been said many times in many ways), but particularly because it gives Jewish parents a way to show the strength of their ongoing commitment to Judaism long past the “expected” days of Hebrew and Sunday school learning leading to bar or bat mitzvah.  As a result, I am more inspired now than ever that we have a very healthy membership of families who come to Adat Chaverim with an active and innate sense of Judaism at their core.  I ask myself then–how can I not work more to support this?!
To the above point, one particular quote from an individual I met with has stuck with me and seems to apply broadly here–“get to my heart, get to my kids”.  What we do for the youth in the synagogue cannot be underestimated (this is probably what you would all expect to hear and agree with, right?).  But the impressions I come away with from listening to the real value congregant families get from all youth directed activities is truly amazing. 
We MUST continue this level of effort and commitment, we cannot let this drop in any measure, to any degree!
No matter what, once we actually get to talk with individuals, every person wants to help Adat Chaverim move forward–whether they can afford to or not.  People are making the effort to do something–anything within their means, or even stretching it some if they can. Not a single person I have spoken with personally has told me “no, I have no interest”!  There are indeed a few situations for individuals where they cannot do anything at this time, but even those have said they will consider giving something at some point in the future when the time is right or better for them.
It’s been a lot of work for a lot of people to get us to where we are today.  Personally, I am inspired to do what I can for this congregation and this new home, which in turn drives my commitment to work on the Gifts Committee.  As hard as it might seem at times, thank you all for making this a very pleasurable and rewarding experience overall.

L’shalom,
Howard Flushman