Renewing Shomrei––Day After Day

laying bricks photoThis past Shabbat I was reading a blessing before the Kriat Sh’ma and was struck by the following sentence: “God, in his goodness, renews Creation day after day.”

Creation, then, didn’t just happen a long time ago. It is renewed each day.

As a former actor, this reminded me of the magic “as if” technique. As Sandy Meisner the legendary acting teacher said, “Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” In other words “as if” you were actually living in those circumstances. Another major component of this concept is creating the “illusion of the first time.” So, no matter whether one has performed the same show for hundreds of times, or even thousands of times––the actor and audience experience it “as if” it was for the first time.

The blessing strikes me as a reminder that creation is not only the work of God or of the actor. God “renews creation with each new day” and we too must create our lives anew each day. That is what makes life exciting, vibrant and new. This task is not only a challenge for individuals, but for communities as well. As Shomrei explores the challenge of reinventing itself with the sustaining share membership model, we have a direct experience of what it is like to imagine that we are creating ourselves for the first time.

One of the key elements of the new model is membership engagement. Already, one can see a new level of involvement as members create exciting new communications systems and reinvigorate our regular events like the Purim Carnival, the Purim Spiel, and participate in the Shomrei Band, Shalach Manot, and the Park Street Band. Our board members and committee members are working together to revitalize the community and the infrastructure that makes it possible. We have upgraded our database and shortly will introduce a new database that will finally enable us to serve our community in a more prompt and efficient way. Members all over are stepping up to take a more hands-on approach to THEIR community, initiating new projects and exploring how to make Shomrei more responsive to the needs of everyone here.

As Andy Silver has written about the sustaining share model, “While it’s entirely up to you to determine the amount of your financial commitment––the dollars are obviously crucial––what’s most important to Shomrei’s strength is the personal commitment of each and every member to be part of Shomrei’s future.”

To ensure that future and that we are economically sound, we are working on creating a much tighter budget and financial management system. Historically, our billing process has not been as effective as it should be and timely payment of dues and tuition has been a challenge for some of our members. To address this, and as we create ourselves anew, we will introduce a new payment plan to make things easier. It will provide for several options––upfront payment of dues, or preauthorized monthly payments via credit card––to simplify payment for our members––and ensure a steady cash flow for our community (all credit card information to be stored at a secure industry leading merchant service and not in the synagogue office). This is another component of what it means to be a stakeholder––ensuring the economic viability of our community.

All this has brought members of community together to work on envisioning how Shomrei can best represent who we are and what we aspire to be. What this suggests to me, is the quote from the blessing before the Kriat Sh’ma. As God renews creation day after day, so must we renew Shomrei day after day––“as if” we are creating it for the first time!

And, with the recent mailing of the financial commitment to all our members, we are in a very real sense looking at creating an entirely new way of belonging to our community. The new model is intended to replace “the dues for services” system we have grown accustomed to over the years. So, if you have not already done so, please be sure to mail in the form, (or complete it online at, no later than March 27th, to make it possible for us to make this transition to a new Shomrei in a timely manner.

Looking forward to working together to renew the creation of our community – day after day!


Image by Scott Lewis  used with permission via Creative Commons: Attribution License

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