President’s Message

On behalf of our Board and Staff, I enthusiastically welcome your interest in our vibrant and growing congregation. I am happy to answer any questions that you have about Kerem Shalom so please get in touch. Contact information for our Staff is listed on the “Contact Us” page.
Shalom and Best Wishes!
Cherry Muse, President

For more information about Kerem Shalom please contact our administrator, Jessie Busiek, at 978-369-1223.

Musings from the President

November 2017

“Dinars for the stones, for the plaster and for the la- borers.”

This fundraising appeal, almost 1000 years old, comes from a letter found in the Genizah of Medieval Cairo. In another fundraising letter, a writer asks, “Who can stand without sustenance?”

For a thousand years, the Jewish community of Old Cairo put their worn-out writings into a synagogue storage room, a genizah. On display at Cambridge University, the writings provide insight into the lives of “a Jewish community in the center of a thriving Islamic empire, international in outlook, multicultural in make up, devout to its core...Generosity was recognized as one of the highest personal virtues.1”

While much of the charitable giving in Cairo’s Jewish community was directed to those living in poverty, afflicted by disease or some other calamity, providing support for the maintenance of Jewish institutions both in Cairo and throughout the Levant (e.g., Jerusalem, Pumbeditha—modern Fallujah) was also an important priority.

My husband and I were fortunate to be in England this past summer when writings from the Genizah were on display. While I was fascinated by pieces of parchment describing ‘daily life’—a wife’s threatened hunger strike, a marriage contract, a document offering to buy back Jewish captives, a child’s alphabet, a letter from a teacher complaining about a boy’s bad behavior—documents about Jewish communal life were of special interest to me.

I learned from the letters cited above that those of us raising funds for Kerem Shalom come from a long tradition of Jewish fundraising! And this, of course, brings me to Generation to Generation. The campaign’s goal is $1,500,000. Here’s the status of

Generation to Generation by the numbers:

  1. Total amount pledged: $1,250, 376
  2. Number of households who have given: 115
  3. Largest gift: $160,000
  4. Average gift: $11,321
  5. Division between one time gifts and multi-year pledges: close to 50/50.
  6. Members not yet solicited: 64
  7. Number of solicitors: 13
  8. Distance from our goal: $250,000
  9. Days between 11/1/17 and 12/30/17: 61

Friends, we can do this!

The precious relics of the Genizah only exist because 1000 years ago, Jews in Cairo provided the financial support needed to maintain the Ben Ezra Synagogue. Did the Jews of Cairo, circa 1035 CE, know their community would reach forward 1000 years into the future?

Will Kerem Shalom be standing 1000 years from now, providing testimony to how Jews of our time and place live? There are, of course, no guarantees. But your support will make it much likelier.

If you have already given to Generation to Generation, thank you so much! And if you have not yet given, please enthusiastically welcome the volunteer who contacts you to schedule a meeting.

1  From “ Discarded History, The Genizah of Medieval Cairo Exhibition Guide and Translations.”

-Cherry Muse