Paul Gross: Sunny skies ahead for TKA!
Some of you may know me as a WDIV-TV meteorologist, but I’m also a long time member of Temple Kol Ami’s Board of Directors, and in 2011 became one of the officers on our Executive Board. I also serve on the Membership and Social Action Committees, and help out at as many Temple functions as my crazy work schedule will allow. My beautiful wife, Nancy, and I have two sons, Jared and Adam.
Like many people, affiliating with a Reform congregation was a top priority for Nancy and me shortly after getting married, and Temple Kol Ami has been our home since 1992. We loved the warm, intimate feeling so many of you identify with here, and we were already very close with Rabbi Roman, as he was our Rabbi back when we were in youth group at another synagogue here in Metro Detroit (Nancy and I, as teenagers, helped him mount the first Mezzuzah at his first house after he moved to Detroit!). I also vividly remember first meeting Founding Rabbi Ernst Conrad, of blessed memory, at a youth group function hosted by TKA back in the 1970s. He and I also became very close over the years, and I will always remember his stories of witnessing Kristallnacht and escaping Nazi Germany.
Temple Kol Ami is very special to many of us, and there are so many easy things you can do that can really help us out. If you or your company can provide a service or product to TKA at a reduced cost that can save us money, or can donate a nice item to auction off at a fundraising event, then please let us know. If you are the type of person who likes to have fun and always has great ideas, then we’d love to have you join one of our Temple committees, or perhaps join the planning committee for our annual May event. If you’d like to be a little more involved with our services, then perhaps you can join our Usher Corps or choir.
You should know that TKA is considered one of the most innovative Reform synagogues in the nation. Our religious school teachers and curriculum are so creative and engaging that TKA kids actually love coming to religious school, and our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program goes far and beyond what most other synagogues do: TKA B’nai Mitzvah students lead virtually the entire service on their own special day..there is no “sharing” of dates here! Our youth group is vibrant and active, and our high school students helped develop their own curriculum, so they learn what they want to learn. Furthermore, TKA’s relationship with B’nai Israel, and now our Pledge System, are being carefully watched by national Jewish leadership. Both will likely become models for synagogues nationwide.
Finally, while maintaining and growing its membership is important for every synagogue, you should know that TKA will never lose its warm, intimate feeling as we are constitutionally mandated to remain a relatively small congregation. TKA was founded upon the principles of being a close community with a strong social action identity, and this will never change. The TKA you experience today is the same TKA we were forty years ago, and is the same TKA you will cherish in the years ahead.