Ner Tamid – The Eternal Light

We all support Temple Beth El in a variety of ways. We pay our partnership dues. But the fact is that dues cover roughly 60% of TBE’s operating expenses.  The rest of the money comes from various forms of philanthropy. Many of us contribute to the Kol Nidre Appeal. Some make donations to commemorate simchas or, sadly, deaths and yahrzeits.  We support Community Celebrations and other fundraising events. The temple has recognized this by creating the post of Vice President of Philanthropy, who has a committee that deals with the non-dues part of our temple income.

There is a form of philanthropy most of us have never considered because we never heard of it or thought of it:  the temple’s Ner Tamid program. Ner Tamid means Eternal Light. Every synagogue has a Ner Tamid, near the arc which houses the Torah(s). It never goes out and it symbolizes, among other things, the endless commitment of the Jewish people to Judaism and the synagogue. Our temple’s Ner Tamid program is the mechanism by which one makes a bequest to the temple, typically in a will.

If you have graduated from a college or university, or donate regularly to any charity, you have probably received an appeal from them urging you to make them a beneficiary in your will. Such giving has become a consequential source of funds for these institutions and other non-profits. Clearly, making any institution a recipient of your estate requires advice from either an accountant or an estate planning attorney, since most “civilians” don’t know the mechanics, the benefits and possible pitfalls. In practical terms, it means adding a clause to your will (everyone should have a will!) making the temple a beneficiary.

The Philanthropy Committee will be making information available to enable people to consider such a bequest. We are ramping up a program to publicly recognize those of us who do decide to do that. Temple Partners have already made Temple Beth El a beneficiary in their wills. Our hope is that going forward, more of us will consider this option. In the coming months the Philanthropy Committee will provide more information about the Ner Tamid program so that you can make an informed decision about its suitability for you. Please contact Lisa Bennett in the temple office if you have any questions about our Ner Tamid program.