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Community Corner - Matthew Weintraub, Executive Director

02/21/2019 03:14:20 PM


Community Corner

Matthew Weintraub, Executive Director


We Jews can be a needy people. We kvetch, we argue, we want" but we are simply human. As psychologist Abraham Maslow laid out, there are five different levels of innate human needs: physiological, safety and security, belongingness, esteem and respect, and self-actualization. The first two needs" physiological (food, air, expression of love)  and safety and security" are basic and are requirements for our well-being and survival. The last three needs" belongingness, esteem and respect, and self-actualization" are what brings us purpose, meaning and satisfaction.

I believe that Valley Beth Shalom is an answer to every single one of Maslow's needs.

Physiological: At VBS we don't only nourish souls, we nourish bodies. As part of our holy chesed work, through the VBS Food Bank, we passed out 1,425 bags of food equivalent to 12,600 meals in 2018 alone. Each Shabbat, just as we share our Torah and our prayers, we share a sumptuous kiddush lunch.

Safety & Security: VBS is a spiritual space. It is also a safe and secure facility where people can pray, learn, socialize and connect. We are welcomed by security guards who know our names, greet our guests, and protect our loved ones. We continue to prioritize security, so that we can all feel safe bringing our families to share the synagogue's life.  

Belongingness: VBS is our home away from home. No matter your entry point - whether as a “ringer” at the daily minyan, a Torah scholar looking to challenge Rabbi Feinstein, a busy parent picking up your child from one of our fabulous schools, a soul waiting for the blast of shofar, a born-Jew or a Jew by Choice or seeking soul looking for a way in - you are in good company. You belong with us. It is hard not to get drawn into this warm, diverse and vibrant community. It has a way of seeping its way into every crevice of a person. Simply pick a random evening and come to VBS and you will find a half dozen different options to enrich your soul. The Shabbat Shiur presents speakers representing a unique points. Myra's Knitting Mavens knitting scarves and hats to keep our soldiers warm and reminded that their service is appreciated. How about a Hazak, Sisterhood or Men's Club program for folks just like you? Don't know what's for you? Just ask Louise Spitzer and Shirley Lowy who will greet you with a hug and a smile and will point you in the right direction. Being a part of a community grounds us, brings comfort and joy, and offers opportunities for deep and meaningful connection. There is no better example of this than our Caring Connection, which activates our volunteers and staff to be present for those who are experiencing the joys and sorrows of life. Whatever calls to you, you certainly belong here with us!

Esteem and Respect: There is no better way to earn respect and esteem than by giving of yourself to your community. At VBS we treasure your unique gifts. Sure, we like your donations, but more, we value the talents, skills and passions you lend to VBS to make it a great community. Volunteer, get involved, join a committee or, even better, the board!  We will surely make use of your knowledge and experience, and in return you will shep nachas when your brilliant ideas or tireless efforts transform the lives of those who benefit.

Self-Actualization: We all yearn for meaning, achievement and reaching our full and unique potential. At VBS we seek to stretch your mind and challenge what it means to be a Jew in the world today. We offer opportunities to pray with your feet and get involved in work that will make the world more just and kind. But most importantly, we provide a sacred community that, with your full participation and immersion, will bring tremendous pleasure, create lasting friendships, and open a window to your best self.

VBS is a kehilla kedosha -- a sacred community -- that serves the needs of so many. We provide the best rabbis, teachers and staff, interesting programming, and great facilities. But what makes VBS special is you! You get what you put into this community. The brit, covenant, we have together is sacred. VBS needs YOU!

I am seeking partners who share my vision for the VBS community and want to help build its future. I invite you to share your stories, passions and interests with me and, even further, get involved! Email me at, come say hello next time you're at shul, or schedule a time to grab a cup of coffee with me. We can do great things together.

Thank you for your membership and partnership.

Matthew Weintraub
Executive Director

Thu, March 23 2023 1 Nisan 5783