I have been a member of Ahavas Israel since 1973, as long as I have lived in Grand Rapids. When I arrived in Grand Rapids, I didn’t know anyone. I had very little experience in volunteering. I was invited to a Sisterhood luncheon meeting. I joined sisterhood and became Ahavas Israel librarian. I had previous experience in the library of my children’s elementary school in Wayne, New Jersey. Serving as librarian put me on the Sisterhood Board. I made many friends in the Sisterhood. I got involved in serving on a Circle. There were circles for each month, from September to May. The circle of the month prepared the lunch for the monthly Sisterhood meeting and was responsible for the Shabbat Kiddushim during that month.
I served as Sisterhood President from 1976-1978. During my term I attended the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism Convention at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills, where I attended the Creative Handicrafts sessions. That experience led to the creation of the Twelve Tribes wall hanging in the Social Hall, which was professionally designed, but executed by members of Sisterhood. Many years later I was involved with the banners of the Hebrew Month project. I created one and helped produce two others.
When Ahavas Israel became egalitarian in 1977, I was the second woman to have an Aliyah. I became a regular member of the Wednesday morning minyan that year to ensure that my husband had a minyan to say kaddish for his father. I am still a member of that minyan. A Sisterhood learning group sharpened my Hebrew and led to my having a Bat Mitzvah in honor of my fiftieth birthday.
I became involved at the congregational level and served as the second female President of the congregation in 1986. I have served as a board member and vice president since that time. I have served on the renovation, finances, and acquisitions committees. I have happily worked on the grounds and in the kitchen on many occasions.
I feel that I have benefited greatly from serving by making friends and seeing the lasting effects of the projects I’ve participated in. Although I understand that times have changed and there is less time available, I urge everyone to step up and volunteer. It’s fun, and your efforts will be appreciated greatly.