Dear Hinenu community,
Today as we launch our membership drive, I am reflecting on what joyful membership in our nascent, blooming congregation means to me. In looking forward to putting in the work and resources required to make our collective dreams a reality, I'm also looking back at why I felt compelled to be a part of this exciting project to begin with.
Before I get to all that, please click this link, fill out the membership form, and pledge as generously as you're able: become a member today!
What was missing in my Jewish life before Hinenu was born? Why-- like a few of you, I'm guessing-- hadn't I been active in a synagogue since my bar mitzvah at Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, NY 18 years ago? As if my parents' shul's name doesn't say it all... While I was showing up in Jewish spaces like JVP and JUFJ, I wasn't showing up to services because two of my values, two parts of my identity, weren't reflected in any of the temples I wandered into. I couldn't find a shtiebel that equally valued Palestinian lives; nor could I find one that truly celebrated interfaith couples. That's why I'm elated to have worked with all of you over the last year to fill that space by building Hinenu!
Still reading? Did you hit the link, become a member, and set up a recurring contribution yet?
Laying Hinenu's foundation on radical inclusion-- and working through the process, language, and values that give meaning to that concept-- with all of you has been heart warming, empowering, vulnerability-inducing experience. I love hanging out, davening, and noshing with y'all!
Let's build on that foundation. Let's continue the adventure of realizing why and how we need to be here for each other and for our larger community. A big part of building our little house is claiming membership-- and furnishing it with our communal resources as well as our collective vision. Please join me in becoming a member of Hinenu: the Baltimore Justice Shtiebl today!
Owen Avram Silverman Andrews