Greenburgh Hebrew Center Mission and Vision
To be a vibrant egalitarian Conservative Jewish community in Westchester County, embracing our traditions while actively participating in our changing world.
Be a family,
embracing our tradition, religion and spirituality,
educating our children, ourselves and our community,
engaging with our changing world
and providing for our future.
Our Vision – Living our Values:
Our vision is to live by our values in everything we do. In all aspects of our synagogue life – not just programs, events, services and classes, but also all of our human interactions with one another -- we will live by, and live up to, our values. This includes our values as stated in this Mission and Vision Statement and also our Jewish values. We will act with intent and purpose, with kavanna. We are a kehillah, a community, on a unified, purposeful Jewish journey together.
Be a family.
People join and remain at different synagogues for different reasons. One of the main things that motivates those of us at GHC is our desire for social connectedness. It is one of the top reasons we join and one of the top reasons we stay. How connected we feel to the other members of our community affects how we feel overall at the synagogue. We therefore strive to be a family for one another.
We share each others’ simchas and shivas and celebrate and support one another’s day-to-day joys and struggles. We welcome newcomers to our community and enjoy getting to know each other, whether it’s when we come to services and stay for Kiddush, participate in all sorts of community programming, volunteer on a project together, join a group such as Sisterhood, Men’s Club, or the Empty Nesters, or just get together outside of GHC. For people who don’t have too much time to come that much, that’s ok too; we are here for you when you need us. We welcome opportunities to understand our members’ needs and expectations and encourage everyone to let us know how we can help.
Our GHC family welcomes and includes people from all walks of life and from many communities within Westchester County, singles and families – traditional, interfaith, blended and LGBTQ. We also are constantly striving to enhance our accessibility. We provide large print prayer books, wheelchair access, amplification devices for the hearing impaired, and additional assistance for special needs children. Special needs celebrations enhance our community’s joy.
Embracing our tradition, religion and spirituality.
As a Conservative synagogue, tradition is very important to us. We embrace it as egalitarians, striving to enhance the joy and spirituality of our services and religious observances. Tradition is the number one reason people join and stay members of our community. High holiday services are also in the top three of our reasons; the main reasons people attend high holiday services are tradition, religion and spirituality.
We all pitched in as a community to purchase the wonderful new, up-to-date Machzor Lev Shalem and Siddur Lev Shalem prayer books for our high holiday services and Shabbat services; we also have been making changes in our high holiday and Shabbat services to enhance our members’ experiences. In addition to regular Friday night and Saturday morning services, we have special services such as “Family Shabbat,” “Musical Shabbat”, “Lawyers Shabbat,” and Sisterhood Shabbat”, daily minyan every morning, Junior Congregation and Ruach Tot Shabbat once a month, and young children’s services every Saturday morning.
We also celebrate the Jewish holidays with joy and exuberance, including wrapping all the children in an unrolled Torah on Simchat Torah, a Hanukkah dinner to which hundreds of people come, and a music and laughter-filled Purim shpiel during the Megillah reading. Our rabbi leads us in discussions about spirituality in a variety of settings, including from the bimah, during his weekly “PowerStart,” “Finish Strong” and “We’re Just Getting Started” classes, at pre-Bnai Mitzvah workshops and in other adult education programs throughout the year.
Educating our children, ourselves and our community.
Providing a quality Jewish education for our children is one of our core values, and we strive to educate ourselves and our community as well. While many of our members join GHC to educate their children and prepare them for bnai mitzvah, we remain committed to providing these programs for others after our children grow up. The top areas that our members feel we should subsidize, even when they are not personally participating, are elementary and middle school programming, early childhood programming, teens and bar/bat mitzvah. And the top area our members say they want to increase their own involvement in is adult education.
We provide engaging and varied educational programs for every age from newborns through seniors. We encourage every member of our community to learn and to teach, by attending or offering a class, delivering a d’var Torah, reading Torah or Haftarah, leading one or more prayers during services, or leading Junior Congregation or Tot Shabbat. We strive for wider and deeper participation in expanding and evolving programs.
Engaging with our changing world.
We take seriously our obligation to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Our SATO (Social Action/Tikkun Olam) committee has led our community in numerous projects, including regular participation in Midnight Run on behalf of the homeless, and our Caring Community attends to the needs of individuals, one by one. We are committed to an ethic of global responsibility, renewing and recovering the ecological meaning central to many Jewish practices. Our Rabbi Emeritus is a GreenFaith Fellow, one of a cadre of interfaith religious leaders throughout North America devoted to religious stewardship of the earth, and we generate much of our own energy through the solar panels installed on our roof. Ahavat Yisrael, our love for Israel and for the Jewish people connects us inextricably to Israel, the state and its people. Engaging with our changing world together, as a community, also enhances our social connectedness with one another.
Providing for our future.
GHC was founded in 1947. Each of us who has joined the community since has been the beneficiary of the vision and dedication of those who came before us, who started and built our community and kept it going despite the challenges that arose along the way. We are stewards of the community for the generations to come. We are committed to seeing GHC continue to grow and thrive, to continuing to build it for future generations.
We would like to see our membership grow, our services engage more people, our spirituality deepen, our schools thrive, and our community continue to enjoy and help one another, while engaging with the world. Financial issues have always been a challenge for GHC. We have a wonderful building that needs to be maintained and made comfortable for new generations. We need to find ways to address those issues while at the same time remaining true to our vision and our core values. We are fortunate to have an Endowment as the result of the merger of GHC and Midchester Jewish Center in 2005.
We need to use our resources wisely and explore ways to develop our future resources, so that we can provide for our future, for our children’s future and for those who will follow after us.