Yom Sheini, 4 Av 5778

Annual Appeal

Dear Member and Friends,

The High Holy Days of the Year 5777 will be here soon. The word renewal characterizes the Agudas Achim community this past year. There is a new excitement as Ira & Julie Levins have brought a new spirit to our music. We had a winter chavurah style meeting and joined with the Catskill Art Society in hosting an Artist-in-residence weekend. New artwork will adorn our walls this year. We are truly looking to the future. There is a spirit of revitalization in Livingston Manor and Sullivan County. We expect to be an element of that positive change. We are doing exterior repairs and improving our grounds by obtaining grants. Hopefully, we are building a physical and spiritual foundation for our future. As Jews, we are mysteriously called to return to our roots during this season. We yearn to hear the shofar blasts and haunting chant of Kol Nidre. It is a time for each of us to publicly recommit to our beliefs and the survival of our people. 

Faith, tradition and future generations cause us to remember what is important. Being a member of a faith community provides support we need to face our uncertainty. Congregation Agudas Achim invites each to bring their spirit to the synagogue as we pray together in our inspirational historic sanctuary. Rabbi Fredric Pomerantz will lead Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services with the assistance of Sherree Kane-Graber, whose cantorial skills enhanced last years' services will return again as our soloist. His warm personality and her beautiful voice will help create a special environment for introspection and atonement during the Days of Awe.

Please remember, we conduct an annual non-perishable food drive to benefit the Livingston Manor food pantry. Donations should be brought to services. We join with other Reform congregations which hold similar drives to remind us of our obligations to those less fortunate. Also don't forget the Yom Kippur break-fast. Please contact Sherry Silver, who is heading this committee. Please contact her at (845-747-9088 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to make a reservation, volunteer to help or bring something to make this a successful event.

It is time for the Annual Appeal. As you are aware, we do our absolute best to keep our dues affordable. It is our policy to be a welcoming congregation, which includes an open door policy for the high holidays. This has been a rare year due to unexpected donations, we almost balanced our budget. Our savings account has dwindled as operating expenses exceed income. We ask that you be generous with your donation. Please remember that about 30% of our annual budget must be raised through this appeal. Despite our efforts, the shrinking Jewish population and the economic conditions in Sullivan County makes it difficult to meet expenses. Most of our budget is spent on spiritual leadership and education. Our Hebrew School continues to flourish because of our great teachers, Dimona Galli and Richard Chiger. The ability of our recent bar/bat mitzvahs are clear evidence of the high quality of our Hebrew school. As Jews we have no greater obligation than to preserve our heritage and pass our history to succeeding generations. We have limited ability to make building repairs and improvements. A successful High Holiday appeal is essential for the continuing miracle of Agudas Achim. Your donations provide the financing which makes our building come alive with Jewish life. Sharing with our family of members and friends creates our living history and spiritual growth. Also we have a commitment to maintain our cemetery by preserving beauty and serenity of the final resting place of those who came before.

We are grateful for the role you play in keeping our outpost of rural Judaism alive. However, a second appeal is essential. Members are still needed to step forward to do the work of preserving rural Judaism in America. Communities like ours are disappearing. We are thankful to those newer members who have begun taking leadership positions to insure a vibrant community now and for future generations. Enclosed, please find an envelope. Return it by mail or bring it to services with your extra generous donation. We need everyone to stretch their giving as we optimistically look forward in the face of uncertainty. Please consider how you can help Agudas Achim thrive as a community full of diversity and life.

On behalf of the board, I would like to invite you, your friends and family to share the High Holy Days at Agudas Achim (click here for the schedule). Thank you for supporting our effort to keep the spirit of our synagogue strong. It is difficult to operate a congregation with limited human and financial resources. We wish you L'Shana Tova. May your life be full of simchas.

L' Shana Tovah,

Bob Freedman, President