Congregants Quotes about the Holy Days.
We asked congregants to muse on a few questions in preparation for the High Holy Days. 
Here's what they wrote:

What is the most meaningful
part of the High Holy Days for you? Any great memories to share? What about the Days of Awe gives you goose bumps?

I love seeing people arrive with bags of canned goods for the youth group’s food drive on Yom Kippur.

     -Amanda Tempel

The first Shir Tikvah High Holiday I participated in was two years ago. When we arrived I immediately felt a welcoming warmth that I had not ever felt at my previous synagogue. The service was beautiful, relaxed and fun. The choir was amazing and awe inspiring. GOOSE BUMPS.

     -Michael Bahr (new member)

I enjoy seeing all of our past presidents on the bima together. I enjoy seeing the congregational youth--post bar/bat mitzvah have an aliyah. Typically the member sermon on Rosh HaShana is beautiful and inspirational.

     -Audrey Appelsies

I am always brought back to my youth, remembering how important the High Holy Days were for my parents, and how special they made them for the whole family.

     -Jeff Prauer

I like hearing the shofar. Sitting with my kids and cousins during services, and being surrounded by my friends and the rest of the Shir Tikvah. It is wonderful seeing the whole community together. I love walking up the steps of First Universalist seeing our greeters and the Jewish stars on the building and the Hebrew welcoming us.

    -Caroline Schultz

Talking with my daughter about what she learned at the service.

    -Sally Drescher

Feeling connected for a moment to all Jews around the world.

     -Kara Paymar

My most meaningful part of the High Holy Days is the familiarity of the beautiful music which fills my heart and soul for the rest of the year. I wait with anxious breath till Jim Miller sings his wonderful familiar solos in a voice which gives me chills. I don't even know him, but it is what signals my heart that the holidays have begun.

     -Noreen (Beanie) Fisher

I like seeing the streams of people, couples, families, old and young, moving towards the synagogue. I like the food shelf contributions, too.

     -Margie Siegel

The music, the community, the prayers. Goosebumps on hearing Kol Nidre music.

     -Sandra Levine

I love when the children’s choir sings that healing song with the adult choir. It always sounds so good and gives me shivers.  I always remember the prayer when you pound on your chest for Yom Kippur. I'm surrounded by people I love and I know I'm doing a good thing for myself.

     -Taylor Forman-Green

At Shir Tikvah, we find
the intersection of spirituality
and social justice.
What inspires you about this?

Judaism is a religion of doing. The Israelites accepted the Torah at Sinai with "we will do and we will listen." Social justice is our "doing" component.

     -Elaine Frankowski

We share this fragile blue planet with all life: human, animal and vegetable. A coherent moral argument could be made that from this derives our moral obligations to all other people and the web of life that supports us all. This is in no way narrow environmentalism. We are called to social justice by our shared predicament.

     -Joline Gitis

Spirituality should lead a person to be unsatisfied until she goes outside of herself to help others who need assistance, whether it is due to poverty or due to an illness. Shir Tikvah offers the opportunity to fulfill these human needs in myself for spiritual growth, as well as for easing life for other people. Helping people in the congregation with their shiva needs, and helping families by calling or bringing food when a member is ill are rewarding.

     -Judith Brook

I find the concept and actions of "Tikun Olam" inspiring. Working together builds community and enhances our actions and personal sense of purpose.

     -Marian Eisner

We do more than give lip service to this intersection. We are real, rather than superficial when it comes to these aspects of congregational life. They add to our respect and caring for one another and make significant efforts in the community as a whole.

     -Sumner & Joyce Richman

It reinforces the notion that Judaism is about more than just religion; it's a value system and a culture.

     -Jeff Prauer

It makes me proud to be associated with an organization that is always thinking beyond itself.

     -Kara Paymar

Social justice when engaged in seems to me to be a spiritual act. It is the action that comes from the deepest parts of us, the parts that inspire, that are filled with care and passion. This to me is spirituality in action. Also social action done in community again feels like a sacred sharing of what matters most.

     -Ruth Markowitz

I am inspired by the intersection of spirituality and social justice at Shir Tikvah because it confirms my choice once again of why I have chosen this synagogue. I think of the saying by Pastor Martin Niemoller, "And I Said Nothing." By the time they came for me no one was left to speak up. I know that Shir Tikvah will always speak up.
     -Noreen (Beanie) Fisher

Shir Tikvah members are willing
to invest so much of their time, talent,
and treasure to build this community.
Can you put into words why you give
and what you get out of it?

It is important for members to invest in the community as this strengthens the bonds of fellowship that sustain the congregation.

    -Joline Gitis

My way of giving to the Shir Tikvah community is through my musical involvement with the choir and in playing Kol Nidre. The music we sing for the High Holidays and throughout the year adds depth to the services beyond the text.

     -Erika Sacks-White

I give because I get. Individuals should give AT LEAST as much as they get.

     -Ina Gravitz

Shir Tikvah is far and away our largest annual contribution in money, and in time it ranks second only to (maybe) various school organizations. We do it because it's central to our identity as a Jewish family, and because we find good friends and good times at Shir Tikvah.

     -Anne Holzman

A sense of connection, of belonging, of support. I was so moved after my Dad died and the congregation consoled me at services.

     -Lesley Cafarelli

Shir Tikvah is my congregational family. I have been a member for well over 20 years and have a sense of belonging. Giving my time and effort is my way of showing my appreciation. I receive love and respect, as well as music, which feeds my soul. I love the children and can see their investment in the future of the congregation.

     -Cookie Montgomery

Shir Tikvah is an easy, effective way for me to make a difference in the community and, ultimately, the world. I derive great satisfaction out of knowing that I'm part of a community that truly is having a positive impact on the world.

     -Morrie Hartman

It's not only an open arms community, it's an open minded community and an open heart community.

     -Noreen (Beanie) Fisher

I give primarily because it is an organization that I feel improves my quality of life and from what I can tell, the lives of many others in the congregation.

     -Martha Brand

It feels good to be a part of this community and I believe in the work that I do. There's a joy found in connecting with people that is really only found upon rolling up one's sleeves and setting to a task at hand.

     -Alena Goldfarb

What makes Shir Tikvah special to me is having a congregation and friends to come to if needed. 

     -Zander Edelman

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