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Hineni Appeal


Dear Friends:

There is a time for silence and a time to speak.

We have communicated to you, our congregational family, many times over the past few months about the steps we have taken at the Merrick Jewish Centre to respond to the pandemic. We have increased the ways you can access our services, programs and classes, and fulfilled our Congregation’s varied needs with additional resources. We have also made you aware on numerous occasions that we stand ready to respond to your personal and financial concerns and we have supported many families in need with accommodations to dues and tuition.

On the other hand, we have been almost totally silent about the financial impact of the pandemic on the MJC itself. And that is because during these most difficult times, our clergy and lay leadership have firmly believed that you needed to come first.

We have now reached the point at which we must break our silence.

The MJC is imminently facing the likelihood of a 2020 budget shortfall of several hundred thousand dollars. Although the leadership of our Congregation has sought to reduce expenses in the face of an uncertain future, no amount of cost-cutting can offset the drastic loss of income we are now projecting due to the required curtailment of various normal activities that generate funds. Because we are not charging for High Holy Day seats or for participation in the livestream this year, the lost revenue from High Holy Day tickets alone approaches $200,000. In addition, due to the pandemic, our major annual fundraising events have been canceled. And of course, we have spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase protective equipment and technology, both to ensure the safety and health of our community and to enable us all to engage spiritually from our homes.

For decades, we have approached you during our Kol Nidre Appeal asking for your kind support. Candidly, however, the financial challenges we face this year far exceed the scope of any Kol Nidre Appeal we have ever made in the past. Therefore, in these unprecedented times, we are asking for your support as we respond to today’s extraordinary challenges with what we are calling our Hineni Appeal. This appeal will replace our annual Kol Nidre Appeal, which will not be held this year.

Hineni. We have said and heard this word many times. In the Torah, it is the powerful word which declares, "I am here, I hear how special and urgent this call is, and I understand that you need me." This year, the Merrick Jewish Centre needs to hear Hineni from our entire congregational family. Indeed, we need to hear that word more now than during any other moment in the 91-year history of our CongregationBoth the present and future of the Merrick Jewish Centre will, in large measure, be determined by your response to this appeal. If you are financially capable of continuing yourlevelofsupportto the Merrick Jewish Centre,we are mostgrateful to you for doing so. If you are able to increase your level of support, that truly would be a blessing. If you have in the past purchased High Holy Day seats, we ask that you consider donating those funds to the Hineni Appeal, in addition to yourtypicalKolNidregiving. Justby way ofexample,ifinthepast,youpurchased two pew seats for $400 and you made a $500 Kol Nidre contribution, we ask that ifyou can,that youpleasecontribute atleast$900,even ifyou willbe participating in the High Holy Days from your home. You can make your contribution online by clicking on the “Hineni Appeal” button on the top right corner of the MJC website, or you may send your check to the office. We ask that you do so no later than September 30.

We know that during this time of incredible uncertainty this is a big ask. But the only reason we as a people are still here is because generations of our ancestors responded with spirit and strength when they were called to action. And so, we ask that this year you add your voices to theirs and resoundingly declare Hineni to ensure the continued financial sustainability of the Merrick Jewish Centre.


The future of our congregation rests on the generosity that the Merrick Jewish Centre receives here and now.

Respectfully yours,

Howard Tiegel, President 
Michelle Goldenberg Executive Vice President
Howie Segal Vice President
Michael Schwartz Vice President
Mitch Simon Vice Presidentand Co-Chair Hineni Appeal
Randye Cohen Treasurer
Joan Land Recording Secretary
Dr. Barry Silverman Financial Secretary and Co-Chair Hineni Appeal
Rena Cohen Kozin Co-Chair Hineni Appeal
Paul GellmanCo-Chair Hineni Appeal
Sat, November 28 2020 12 Kislev 5781