Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why I Volunteer: Rosalea Fisher and Jared Finkelstein

Rosalea Fisher and Jared Finkelstein were honored at our Simhat Torah services with the special aliyot marking the end and beginning of the Torah reading cycle. Here are the remarks each of them made to the congregation in honor of the occasion:

Rosalea Fisher:

As a child, I watched my mother as she modeled for us the art of volunteering. She was the treasurer of our school’s PTA; she volunteered for ORT which provides skills-training and self-help projects word-wide. She was a life member of Hadassah, and in her later years, she volunteered at a nursing home to turn pages for a pianist. Volunteering was a part of her everyday life. My sister also worked tirelessly for Philadelphia’s renowned Children’s Hospital and still does to this day.

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Jared Finkelstein:

In being honored today, I have also been given the great opportunity to talk about volunteering. If you had told me when I joined TBE over 12 years ago that I would be standing here today being honored for my volunteer efforts at TBE I would have thought you were dreaming. But I am here and I have volunteered. How and why did I go from where I was when I joined TBE to today?

First, I think is the power of role models. My parents were both very involved in their synagogue and Jewish organizations when I was growing up – my dad was the president of his synagogue, was very involved in Israel bonds and B’nai Brith and my mom was very active in the sisterhood and Hadassah. My mom’s father was the secretary for his temple in upstate New York for years and years. Even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time and they didn’t hit me over the head with it, they were being role models. I believe the power of role models is a good reason to volunteer. If you believe in what we are doing here at TBE or there are things you want TBE to be doing, by spending your time to achieve those goals you are sending a very powerful message to your children and others in the community. You may not see the impact of that message immediately but I am proof that the impact can be felt decades later. The concept of l’dor va dor, from generation to generation, is very powerful and passing on a belief in volunteerism and helping others from one generation to the next is vitally important.

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