(By Bobby Lapin President of Congregation Beth Israel Board of Trustees)
It’s a mystery the things we do and don’t remember as small children. As a father, I marvel that my boys might recall a remote event while entirely forgetting a family vacation. For me, 1967 stands firmly in my memory as the year of our new Temple. Holman Ave. housed Congregation Beth Israel for all of my young life. But, what I remember so vividly from that year was not the first Shabbat or High Holiday celebration in our Temple’s new North Braeswood home, but an event that happened the night the new building officially opened its doors, when I was seven years old.
As part of an impressive motorcade across town, my grandfather and other Congregational past presidents lovingly and joyfully transported our Torah scrolls from the Holman Ark to the new sanctuary and into its Ark. Sitting in the back seat with the Torah beside me as he drove, I recall wondering how this scroll had essentially travelled from Sinai to the back seat of my grandfather’s Cadillac. I was proud, but most of all I was connected to the values and teachings of our people, and the history of our congregation.
Congregation Beth Israel’s 160th Anniversary presents an opportunity for all of us to create new, indelible memories for our children and families. By filling in a letter in our new People’s Torah, and perhaps dedicating a word, verse or portion to ensure our Congregation’s financial future, you too can connect with our “most precious gift.” Please visit www.CBIbeablessing.org to learn more, and maybe 2014 can be your – and your family’s – Wonder Year.