One thing that makes the IJC such a special community is the incredible commitment of so many volunteers: lending a helping hand to wash dishes after a shabbat meal; making challah for the community; driving a member to services who is home bound or helping to coordinate Hebrew School parents. These are all part of what makes the IJC a home away from home for so many. During the 2018 Spring Vision meetings, it became apparent that despite this generous commitment by so many, there is still an unmet need for additional volunteer support.
There are ideas for more programs and activities, including strengthening our Pastoral Care program, offering stimulating lectures, being able to share a meal together after every Shabbat service - and more. At the same time, there was a strong inclination not to raise membership so that IJC remains as financially accessible as possible. The more volunteers we have, the more programming we can offer, without adding any additional expenses to the budget.
The IJC Board has set a goal of "100% Participation" among IJC members to volunteer in some capacity. In the weeks to come, we will be sending out a Volunteer Sign Up form, which details the many ways to get involved in the community. We invite all members to consider how they might like to volunteer.
And here's a well-known secret: volunteering isn't just about lending a helping hand. Most volunteers will tell you they also receive a wonderful benefit from being closely involved in their community. Close-knit bonds are built over the shared tasks of setting up tables for a potluck meal or serving as the gabbai and calling up members for an aliyah.
When you think about what you'd like to give, keep in mind that there's a good chance you'll receive as much, if not more, in the warmth, connection and sense of community that comes with volunteering.
Ilana Sumka, IJC Board Member