CBHT —Giving from the Heart
By Gail A. Manheimer
I have always felt our Temple represents an extension of our home, a welcoming place for us to pray, meditate, study, sing, find fellowship, make new friends and at the same time we seek the kind of inner peace that is so needed in times of stress or the strain of work and family responsibilities. My present involvement in the CBHT campaign actually goes back many years. When it was decided that we would take the beginning steps to modify our Temple, the religious school facilities, and add the social hall building, I was reminded of how I had participated in the expansion and rebuilding of my previous Temple Beth El in Harrisburg, PA.
At that time, 1979, I was a divorced, single mom. I had very little “extra money,” yet I wanted to be a part of this project and have my children know that they had spiritual ownership in this building where they were growing up and would celebrate their Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. I made a pledge of $100 a month for three years, knowing that when it was paid off it would be $3,600! Once I had made my pledge, I was then eligible to step up and be a part of the fund raising team, in a position to ask others to join me.
When our renovation was completed in 1984, my children and I located our names inscribed on a small plaque, along with many others, just outside the social hall. Thirty-two years later, I still remember the feeling of what it meant to us, this major accomplishment of being a small, yet to us significant, part of this large project.
As a member of the Temple board in 2007, when we voted to begin the process of renovating and expanding our beloved Congregation Beth HaTephila, I knew I wanted to be a part of this very important milestone. I met with Joe Karpen in 2008. Little did I know at that time, Ron Manheimer and I would be married the following year under the Chuppah in the Sanctuary and have our wedding reception downstairs in the wood-paneled Unger Hall that was original to the building. Having paid off my pledge a few years ago, Ron and I made another contribution September, 2016 because this project is not complete until the debt is retired….marked Paid in Full.
As living examples, my parents always supported our Temple, wherever we lived and this was the lesson that was passed on to me. If Jews do not help other Jews and our religious institutions, then who will? In our broader community of Asheville, there are many worthy charities that beg for our attention, energy and support. However, when you choose to support Jewish organizations, know that if you step aside and refuse to help, then the broader community will not be there to lend a hand. Jews helping Jews by giving to Jewish causes means that your commitment honors your family: your parents, your grandparents, perhaps going back generations to ancient times when we were asked to contribute our valuables for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
We are being called now just as we have always been called. Will your contribution be the one that helps us finally complete this process? Do you see some metaphorical golden ring embedded in the foundation of the building? Will you kvell, glow with pride, feeling important, knowing you are part of the solid foundation that giving from the heart engenders?
Join me in this vision: this is my Temple, my Temple family, my Religious School, my little Torah that I carry marching around the Sanctuary, the place where my children, my grandchildren are now becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The tradition of giving and caring about what happens here, right now, insures our success.
Think about it quietly yourself; talk about it with your family. Your heart will tell you what to do. Then call the Temple or fill out this enclosed envelope. Multiply your mindful gift by 36 payments and, together, we will reach our goal of retiring our mortgage so that we are debt free. Then you will be able to experience with joy what you have helped create, your name on a leaf, on a plaque, or on a wall, honoring your gift and commitment to your Temple family.
Together we are One Temple Family strong!
Gail and Ron Manheimer are active members of CBHT and a donors to the L’dor V’dor Campaign. Watch for more member highlights and why families and individuals are choosing to donate to our capital fund drive, now moving into its’ final two phases.