Congregation Gan Eden

Dear Gan Eden Family,

With deep sadness and abundant gratitude, I announce to you that Congregation Gan Eden is closing its doors after serving our community for 29 years.

If you purchased any tickets or made any Yiskor donations, your ENTIRE PURCHASE WILL BE REFUNDED within 10 days.

Many of you have been with us for several years, if not from the beginning.  Prior to the pandemic, we celebrated the High Holy Days with 500 Family Members and had a waiting list to boot. Circumstances have changed drastically, since our last full gathering in 2019.  In 2020, we conducted services over Zoom for only about 60 households, and in 2021, provided the same for about 70 households, along with a limited in-person service for about 100 congregants.  This was downward trend we hope would reverse itself in 2022, as these numbers would not sustain us from year to year.  The hybrid service was extremely complex and expensive to create and manage, and without significant advance funding and staff, we could not repeat it this year.

Since launching web ticket sales on July 10th, we have only sold 77 tickets.  This quantity is far short of the minimum needed to fund all the expenses that make our holiday gatherings so special, including the Rabbi, the Civic Center rental, the storage facility, etc. We even tried an ad in the Jewish Journal, with no measurable success.  To forestall this decision any longer would have jeopardized your ability to locate a suitable alternative for the Holidays and the Rabbi’s ability to seek alternative employment.

In response to our ticket launch, many of you wrote to us citing your continued caution with attending large events, due to the pandemic, and we attribute the low-ticket response to the pandemic and the many ways it transformed our world.

I have posted a history of Gan Eden on our website (https://congregationganeden.org/about-us/), should you wish to recall or learn who we are, and why these 29 years were joyous and fulfilling.

We still have 500 of our custom Machzorim (Prayer Books), which we created by the late Rabbi Nessa Bush Chamberlain, along with her sister, Cantor Bobra Bush. Many of you have expressed an interest in purchasing these books in the past.  We would be happy to sell you as many of these as you wish for a price of $10 each.  Your purchase would help us recoup some of our costs. If you wish to purchase any of them, please email us at events@congregationganeden.org, and we’ll provide the details.

Should you wish to reach Rabbi David Siff for a life cycle event or to join his group for other events, please go to https://kolhalevpbc.org/.

We will monitor our email address (events@congregationganeden.org) for at least several months, should you wish to reach me.

From the early days in 1993 with only 25 congregants, to our 500-person events at the Civic Center, to our best attempts over the last two years with Zoom, we maintained Rabbi Nessa’s original goal of providing joyous, accessible, and participatory services to the under-served Boca-Delray-Boynton community. We hope you feel the same way. I am eternally grateful to my sister Nessa, and to you, for giving me this opportunity to sing my heart out of my chest, lift our collective spirits, and come to love all of you.

On August 21, 2022, (Av 24, 5782), we close our doors with deep sadness, but with abundant gratitude to those of you who supported us for 1 year or all 29 years, and kept Rabbi Nessa’s legacy alive. May that legacy continue to live in your hearts, as it does in mine.

Today I say farewell, l’hitra-ot, and hopefully not good-bye. I wish you a healthy and happy New Year, wherever your life’s journey may take you.

With Love and Blessings for Peace and Joy,

Cantor Bobra Shulamit Bush

Congregation Gan Eden
www.congregationganeden.org
events@congregationganeden.org

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