Dear Temple Micah Members and Friends,
I recently saw an opinion piece by Roy Schwartz on CNN.com that made the argument that Superman is Jewish. Mr. Schwartz points out that the comic book character was the creation of two Jewish teenagers, who were sons of immigrants from Eastern Europe. Superman’s Kryptonian birth name is Kal-El; “kal” meaning yes or obviously, and “el” meaning G-d in Hebrew. Superman is otherwise known as “Yes, God.” These Jewish teenagers also embraced the masquerade of Clark Kent as he wore his ethnic garb, his cape, underneath his earthly respectable and widely accepted suit like many Jews who wear the tallit under their everyday suits. Clark Kent was the assimilated version of Superman.
As we look forward to the end of our year, the start of our new fiscal year, and begin preparations for our High Holy Days, it is important that we recognize that we, as Jews, are intertwined with the fabric of this country. We are everyday “super” people. Our involvement and impact on this country’s history is evident in many places. (There’s significant evidence that Columbus and his first mate were Jewish!) For many years, we, as a community, have thrived, reached heights in business, education, and politics.
However, with the rise of antisemitism over the last few years, our role and place in this country is being challenged. It is ok to admit that it is scary, but it is not ok to accept it or cower. Instead, we must continue to be proud of our identity and defend our heritage and culture; we have a duty and a responsibility to both our ancestors and our children.
It is my hope that you believe, like I do, that part of that duty is to ensure our community has a physical and spiritual place in which to gather, to congregate, to feel accepted and safe, to stand tall and proud, and most importantly, to teach our children (the ultimate mitzvah). Maintaining our organizations and our physical space comes with a cost. It takes time and effort from all of us, but just as important, it takes money and tzedakah.Yet. I recently received an email message from someone complaining that they should not have to pay dues because they only visit Temple Micah during our free and open High Holy Days services. And no, it wasn’t that this person could not afford our modest dues–if that were the case we would have happily worked with them. Instead, this person willfully refused to see and understand our role in their lives and they did not understand or accept their important role in the life of our community. Temple Micah cannot and should not be a place just for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Only showing up for Yizkor but not participating in other events or Jewish life may be convenient, but it is not the full engagement with our community that we hope for all of you. Imagine what this person could teach our children, stories that are left untold and unlearned. Imagine the joy and connection this person is missing by not having a nosh and laugh with friends after short Friday night services welcoming Shabbat and the weekend.
Simply put, Temple Micah and other Jewish organizations cannot endure with this philosophy of nonchalance. If this continues, you may be disappointed in the future that Temple Micah is not there for you when you really need it. We are fortunate that we are able to maintain our dues at a much lower level than other synagogues in the area but it is increasingly difficult to provide a place for you and your family without your membership.
So I am asking all of you to continue to be members, and if you are not, to become members of Temple Micah, and to donate to maintain our home at PCOL. Our future depends on it!
If you are a member or becoming a member, my sincerest and heartfelt, “thank you.” As one of my Hebrew school teachers said a long time ago: “Toda Raba!”
For those of you who are considering it, I am asking you to be a Kal-El, a super person, and say, “Yes, G-d” to this call for support and your memberships and your donations! Superman may or may not be Jewish but you certainly can be Kal-El!
You are much stronger than you think and what you imagine!
Andy Schragger was born in Trenton, New Jersey and has been an active member of the Jewish community of Mercer County for many years. Andy served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Center of Mercer/Bucks for many years and joined Temple Micah’s Board of Trustees in 2018. Andy became President of Temple Micah’s Board of Trustees in February 2022. Andy is a local attorney and lives in Lawrenceville with wife, Elissa and two children, Haley and Max.