When I told the Federation solicitor to put me on their Do Not Call list for cause in 1995, it was not my intent to separate myself from the community, only to redefine what the community obligations entail. In the ensuing years, until last year, each month I would write a check to a component of the Jewish communal labyrinth with a note of appreciation for the efforts of their staff and volunteers on the importance of the work that they do. I would never fall seriously behind on the donations until last year when I procrastinated this task until the fall. This year I find myself having given bupkis as we enter December, neglecting both my need to be supportive and my need to express hakaras ha-tov for the good work all these people do. While it is mandatory that I share my good fortune to assist with beneficial projects and remain within the Jewish communal undertone, I'm also a little more separated as the Pew Research study suggests. As my fondness for my synagogue experience becomes more marginal, it takes other components of Jewish connection with it. I read books, I make a concerted effort to study Torah and write about Jewish subjects and the Jewish experience, but as I transition from participant to observer I seem less driven to make this communal network, more than 100 years in creation, live on in perpetuity.
That said, these twelve monthly contributions and notes of appreciation plus a little extra for WashU Hillel and Mesorah Heritage Foundation will be in the mail by shabbos.