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HHD Appeal - Executive Director

Kever Avot in Hebrew means “graves of the fathers”. It relates to an annual Jewish tradition of visiting a cemetery between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to pay homage to parents and loved ones and to gain strength through communal prayer.


Let me start with a proposition: communal gatherings at the cemetery are more connected to life, than to death itself. Clergy commonly make reference to the importance of honoring the memory of those we love by living a life of good deeds. We honor those who have passed before us by doing mitzvot in our lifetime.

This past Sunday, Rabbi Ravski conducted a beautiful Cemetery Yizkor Service, with over 130 participants attending in-person and virtually. The service was a blending of the Yizkor service and Kever Avot cemetery service. Those who attended heard the recitation of names of members who have died in the past year; they experienced the atmosphere of the cemetery itself, creating a link to help remember loved ones who have died; and they gathered with others, from a distance, connected as a community remembering together. One of our congregants sent a note of gratitude, writing that she “found the yizkor service at the cemetery to be incredibly moving and beautiful. The souls of those who are no longer with us hung in the breeze as we all recited El Malei Rachamim.” The next Cemetery Yizkor Service is scheduled for Friday, October 9th at 10:30 am.

I want to connect the Jewish custom of remembering loved ones, with the equally strong charge in Judaism to work toward Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. I have been inspired in recent weeks by the leadership of Sandra Brett and the Tikkun Olam Committee. They have collected and delivered school supplies and food, educated the community about the “SNAP” federal food assistance program, and begun to collaborate on programs to “Stamp Out Hate” through a hate-crime bill in South Carolina. Those who support these causes are, in Abraham Heschel’s words, “praying with their feet” to repair the world.

Over the past four months since I began at Synagogue Emanu-El, I have been deeply impressed by the passion of staff and lay leaders. From the remarkable array of service leaders stepping up over the High Holidays, to the Re-Opening Task Force addressing our safety during the pandemic, to dozens of volunteers preparing and delivering High Holiday Gift Bags—so many associated with Synagogue Emanu-El have displayed genuine care for their community. This caring, in the end, is true Tikkun Olam, repairing of the world.

So what’s the catch here? As Executive Director, one of my roles is to help our community not-for-profit religious institution be fiscally strong. To achieve our mission, we must on occasion appeal to our supporters….and this is the connection between honoring loved ones, Tikkun Olam, and "The Appeal".

If you have already made a donation to our High Holiday Appeal, thank you. If you have not yet contributed to this effort, but feel you have the capacity, I invite you to make a donation. You may click on the icon to the left, or send a check into the synagogue. With your help, we are hoping to match our High Holiday 

contributions from last year….which will allow us to touch the lives of the Charleston Jewish community, and repair the world through our work in the coming year. 

Chag Sameach...and Thanks! 

Bob Greenberg, Executive Director

The next Cemetery Yizkor Service will be just prior to Shmini Atzeret, on October 9th at 10:30 am. 

The Cemetery Yizkor Book 5781 is available here.



Tue, October 27 2020 9 Cheshvan 5781