From the moment we joined Beth Elohim we felt fully a part of this beloved community. The activities, religious observances, travel, educational opportunities and beautiful facilities all drew us in. All of this was made possible in large part by the many who came before us.
But in 1990 just how extraordinary Beth Elohim is became instantly apparent. Shelley was in a near fatal auto crash in a foreign country while Dan was home with our two young daughters. He received the call from the Frankfurt police to, “Come quickly before your wife dies.” At 8:00 at night the only person Dan could think of asking for help was Rabbi Mintz. In short order he helped Dan think through what he had to do and take action. And all through the ordeal he remained available for consultation and astute advice.
But it was not only Rabbi Mintz who helped in that trying time. Many members of the Beth Elohim community went out of their ways to do what had to be done to help Dan get to Germany and to help with our daughters during the month he was away. Once we both got home and Shelley was in U Mass Medical Center for another month more members of our astounding community helped in more ways than we can recount.
If this were the only reason we had, we would support Beth Elohim with our all of our heart and soul. But the beauty of our community goes way beyond helping in a crisis. We have made some of our closest and dearest friends through Beth Elohim. The education and religious opportunities have been rich with all we could want in a synagogue. We have more than benefitted from the wisdom, friendship, and humor of our Beloved Rabbi (and now including our wonderful Cantor and Education Director, as well). The school did more than teach our daughters. It instilled a sense of genuine Yiddishkite in them.
We are fortunate to be the beneficiaries of all who came before us to support Beth Elohim and we feel a powerful and loving obligation to do what we are able for the present and future members of this wonderful shul. This is why we donated to the Hineni campaign and annually donate what we can to our beloved congregation.
February 1, 2017 Michelle and Chris Siegert
Why? Why did we contribute to Hineni? Why do we pay our dues and why do we belong to CBE?
The answer to all of these questions is really simple. We identify with being Jewish and want to retain our Jewish community in, as some have said with a giggle, the diaspora outside of Boston.
As many of you know, I was raised in Framingham in a conservative synagogue. Chris was raised as a Catholic but fell away from observing his faith. Shortly after Beth was born (almost 25 years ago, ouch!), we agreed on raising our family as ‘Jewishly’ as we could. We moved to Acton in part because we were looking for a synagogue that would be one in which Chris could participate comfortably.
And we found it.
Due to many aspects of life at CBE including but not limited to: the wonderful friends we have made, how meaningful services have been inside our sanctuary, and the resulting relationship that Chris built with Lewis, Chris decided to formally become a Jew, and submerged in a beautiful mikvah in March of 2008.
We are privileged to have the walls of CBE surround us, both in a literal and figurative sense. People are there to help us through both the joyous and challenging life cycle events. We feel so good and so renewed during the High Holidays services each year. We are proud of our children when they work hard in the Hebrew school and become comfortable on the bima themselves. Nothing makes a Jew more verklempt than seeing the next generation hold a Torah: L’dor v’dor.
And with privilege comes responsibility. It is our collective responsibility to help CBE survive and flourish. If we all pitch in, we can do it. If we don’t, then CBE will fail. Take a moment to think about how tragic that would be. We have a great pool of people – so much larger than when the first founding families committed to help CBE exist at all. Can you imagine what that was like? Moving your family to a town where no synagogue exists? And committing to establishing one? What bravery. And talk about prioritizing CBE financially? They did it.
The hard work has been done. We don’t have to be as brave as those initial families; we just have to prioritize CBE in our personal fiscal lives if at all possible. Any contribution is welcome – we implore you to join us in becoming the foundation that CBE can rely upon.