The Faces of the EveryONE Annual Campaign

barbaraerika-and-jeffWe all have forged a unique journey to find our place at Temple Aliyah. Some were drawn to the diverse programming, while others came for the exceptional ECE services. For EveryONE co-chairs Barbara Anik and Erika and Jeff Rudner, Temple Aliyah is all about family.

Looking for a younger-based congregation to start her family, Barbara Anik knew she hit the jackpot when she joined Temple Aliyah 32 years ago. “It was a younger, vibrant, newer, welcoming community. Everyone was very friendly and I could sense that I belonged there,” she says. Since joining, she has raised her two children through the temple and established an extended family with the congregation. Case in point: Over the years, Rabbi Vogel has performed the Bat Mitzvah, marriage ceremony and now will likely help name a new baby for her daughter. Barbara also has been a key contributor in many ways, including serving on the synagogue board, as Sisterhood (Women of Aliyah) president and as gala co-chair.

For the Rudners, that same warmth and vibrancy that drew Barbara was immediately felt during a Mommy & Me class with their oldest son, Jacob. “We slowly started to become more involved in the temple aspect, but we were drawn in by ECE. It’s where we met our best friends and our children met their best friends. Our Jewish spiritual lives have really revolved around Temple Aliyah,” Erika says. Since joining 14 years ago, the Rudners have also played an active role in the community, with Jeff assisting with complex lighting displays for major events, and Erika serving as a board member on the education committee and as PTA president.

While both families have deep roots in the Temple Aliyah community, they also appreciate how the congregation continues to evolve and grow to stay relevant. “The goal is to keep the Jewish community alive and want Jewish families to be part of the Jewish experience. That becomes harder with lives being so busy, but I feel that Temple Aliyah changes its methods to change with the times and makes it reachable,” says Erika.

Temple Aliyah has been such an important part of their lives, which is why Barbara and the Rudners encourage everyone to come together in support of the EveryONE Campaign for the congregation’s future. “I would encourage people to give so that the temple can thrive and continue to thrive for the generations ahead of us,” Erika says.

Both families are clear: it’s not about the amount you give; it’s about investing whatever you can to make a difference. “I believe that this institution makes so many positive changes in the world, whether it’s sending your children to Jewish summer camp, supporting families with special needs, whether it’s your time of need, or someone passes away. There are so many times when it’s there for you,” says Barbara. “It doesn’t matter how much you give above and beyond your membership fees. It could be a small amount—it could be $10. But we want everyone to feel committed to helping make that difference.”