In early January, a small, but spirited group braved the frigid wind chill to celebrate Shabbat together in a special service recognizing DJC volunteers. As Rabbi Miriam led us through the Torah service, offering blessings for those of us who came up for aliyot focused on different phases and challenges related to volunteering, I looked at all the DJC members around me who have contributed so much, in so many different ways, to our community.
In my role, it is easy to see, often on a daily basis, how these DJC members sustain and grow our community. While we dedicated a Shabbat service to this theme, appreciating the energy, thoughtfulness, work, and commitment of our volunteers is something we try to do on an ongoing basis. But, bringing our collective appreciation and support to focus on volunteers on that Shabbat morning did feel different. Together we acknowledged the insecurity and fear, the commitment and enthusiasm, and the sense of striving and satisfaction related to our volunteer experiences.
While scanning the faces, I thought about the different ways each member I saw contributes to creating the DJC. I realized how incredible we are, not only to have so many individuals who support the community in so many ways, but how incredible we are for being a community that taps into so many members’ talents and passions and brings them forward to help sustain our community.
We don’t just have volunteers. We have singers who volunteer. Accountants and lawyers who volunteer. Educators who volunteer. Community organizers who volunteer. Sewers who volunteer. All our volunteers bring their own mix of experience, interests, skills, and style. And I think we do a pretty good job of figuring out how to engage, harness, and apply DJC members’ particular talents and strengths.
Just as our voices come together in the blessings and songs of the service, so much of what is created at the DJC is from the ways we bring our individual perspectives and strengths forward together.
Thank you to all the DJC volunteers, for who you are, and for how you contribute who you are to our community.
And for those of you who are interested in volunteering, we’d love to learn what you can bring to this community. Reach out to our volunteer coordinator, Ann Shaddick (djcVolunteer@gmail.com), or talk to a board member, any DJC staff or volunteer, Rabbi Miriam, or Cantor Lisa, and we can help figure out how your talents and passions can contribute to the DJC.
With great appreciation,
Elisabeth Marks, Chair, DJC Board of Directors