Dear Lab/Shul Family,
Sure, I’ll say it: 2017. Has been. A helluva year.
It was a year of hurricanes, gun violence, Harvey Weinstein (& “friends”), disastrous healthcare and tax reform, immigration bans, continuing police brutality, and ultimately the year we all woke to the fragility of democracy.
It was also the year that provided the wonder of the solar eclipse; it inspired the Women’s March, the #metoo movement, demonstrations on behalf of DREAMers, some of the best comic relief yet, and gave us all Ben Platt. Somehow harsh times also bring out the best in us – always have.
2017 was quite a year for Lab/Shul too, entering our 5th year committed to serving our growing friends and fans, to rising for justice, and to spreading love. Together we:
- Welcomed the Jewish New Year with over 3,000 people, inspiring our search for a larger venue
- Celebrated our Rabbi’s top five slot in the Forward’s Top 50 American Jews of the year
- Hired our first Executive Director and two additional staff members
- Proclaimed “love over tribe” in welcoming multi-faith marriages with Joy
- Connected 50 Virginia voters with their congressperson to advocate for a Clean DREAM Act at our first-ever phone bank
- Mourned during monthly Kaddish Club dinners and weekly Virtual Kaddish conference calls
- Raised the Bar on the B-Mitzvah experience for 15 teens and their families
- Cooked, baked and rejoiced with a dozen new families at our first-ever FamilyLab gatherings, in partnership with PJ Library
- Sang, chanted, whirled and rallied for peace over Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur with our multi-faith and civic partners
- Convened Trans* & GNC (Gender Non-Conforming) community, sharing art and conversation
- Joined together for our annual All Hands, All Hearts gathering, mapping our shared assets and sharing our big dreams – check out the notes here.
As we embark upon a comprehensive Strategic Planning process in 2018, we will gather throughout the year to refine and restate our mission, and to ensure that we have a shared vision for the future. We can look forward to the meaningful connection of soul-fuel stations, the hope of mid-term elections, the possibility of progress…and the new Frozen broadway musical.
Last week our #powerofeight Hanukkah campaign exceeded our goal of raising $30,000. Deep gratitude to everyone who donated. If you have not yet made your year-end gift to Lab/Shul, now would be a fantastic moment!
DONATE HERE IN ANY AMOUNT – it helps us keep the lights on and the spiritual connection flowing.
We’re already kicking off 2018 with a soul-nourishing MLK WKND, featuring a special Sabbath KING on Friday, a “preacher swap” in Harlem on Sunday, and all ages volunteering with Muslims Against Hunger on Monday. The year ahead has a lot to offer us all in terms of growth, love, light, and healing.
May 2018 bring all of us health, joy, and the strength to bring more light into the world. I look forward to our work together as our community continues becoming full circle.
With love and warm a smile,
Sarah Sokolic, Executive Director
On behalf of Rabbi Amichai, Our Board of Directors, & The Lab/Shul Team