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Announcing the Elaine and Norman Thorpe Fund for Community Engagement and our Pesach Appeal

Dear Congregants,

We are thrilled to share some exciting news about an opportunity for you to make a significant difference at CST.

Recently, we were presented with a very generous gift by the Chisholm and Keough families, who have worked with the Board of Trustees to establish the Elaine and Norman Thorpe Fund for Community Engagement. This fund will benefit CST today and into the future, helping to fuel our connections to one another as well as our growth by enabling us to fund programs and activities to fuel community engagement. This fund is a fitting tribute to Norm and Elaine, long-time beloved CST congregants. We hope that you will consider investing in CST by donating to the Pesach Appeal in support of this new fund. Together, we can build on the legacy of the Thorpe Family to carry Shir Tikvah into a vibrant, connected, and joyful future.

We encourage you to read the Q&A below for more information about how you can participate. Please reach out to our Executive Director, Lorelei Berg, President, Patty Rehfus, Vice Presidents, Paul Blatt or Julie Stern, or Treasurer, Buck Baker with any additional questions.

It is our sincere hope that you will participate in this effort at a giving level that is comfortable for your family. Every donation will help create a more stable, dynamic, connected Shir Tikvah for today and into the future.

To make your donation, please click here and choose the Thorpe fund from the dropdown box.


The CST Board of Trustees

Q&A for the Elaine and Norman Thorpe Fund for Community Engagement

What is the Thorpe Fund?
The Elaine and Norman Thorpe Fund for Community Engagement was recently established to foster lasting connections among CST members and to promote constructive partnerships between CST and other individuals and organizations.  Its purpose is to fund initiatives, programs, and activities that enhance and elevate the CST community. These include those that promote lifelong learning, deepen relationships among congregants, encourage interfaith, multicultural, and multigenerational collaboration, enhance Jewish culture and traditions, and/or advocate for justice. This is a restricted fund administered by the CST Board of Trustees.

What is the Pesach Appeal?
Please consider investing in CST’s future by making a donation during the Pesach Appeal (April 16 - May 31). This can be a one-time donation or a recurring donation over the course of the coming year. All giving levels are appreciated and every donor will be recognized in the Schrier. Founding donors of $5400 or above will be recognized on our donor wall in the lobby. If you are interested in a planned gift, or in giving through an IRA distribution or a donation of appreciated securities, please contact our executive director, Lorelei Berg, or our treasurer, Buck Baker. We hope that everyone will do what they can to support this exciting opportunity to move forward and celebrate all that Shir Tikvah means to us.

How and why was the Thorpe Fund established?
Shortly after Norman Thorpe passed away in January 2021, his daughters, Sarah Chisholm and Carrie Keough, expressed their wish to establish a fund in their parents’ memory. The Thorpes were long-standing members of CST, who participated actively in many aspects of synagogue life. Their children and grandchildren have followed their example, serving CST in a variety of capacities over many years. Sarah is currently the Director of Lifelong Learning. Carrie is a teacher in the Family Education program as well as CST’s Social Justice Coordinator/Youth Director. Norman and Elaine were generous people, both personally and financially. They were world travelers, lifelong learners, and enthusiastic supporters of the arts who extended their generosity to numerous educational, social, and political causes. They devoted their lives to learning from, collaborating with, and serving people from a wide variety of nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds. At CST, they found a vibrant, inclusive form of Judaism and a truly welcoming community that they cherished. Norman was especially fond of Rabbi Alicia and was confident that she is the right leader for CST. He wished to support and elevate engagement, both within the congregation and between CST and the larger community. Sarah and Carrie hope that this fund will enable CST to live out the three things Norman asked them to promise: To stay close and love each other, promote justice, and seek out new relationships and experiences. In so doing, it is the hope of the Thorpe/Chisholm/Keough family that CST will be able to sustain and build on what is best about our community while expanding our reach beyond the walls of the synagogue.

How will the fund be used?
Like all non-profit organizations, Shir Tikvah depends on fundraising over and above dues revenue to survive and thrive. This fund will enable CST to develop initiatives, programs, and activities that bring the community together and raise Shir Tikvah’s profile in the larger community. It is a means to both serve our current members and attract new members. As we know, CST faces some economic challenges. As Buck Baker explained so eloquently in his most recent financial update call (recording available at, the answer to these challenges is to attract and retain new members, to form strong bonds within our congregation, and to utilize our beautiful building and property to engage with those in the larger community. This fund will be used to support experiences and initiatives that enable us to do those things to a much greater extent than our current very lean budget allows. The fund is set up to accommodate many different uses. Some possible examples include special learning/worship experiences, guest speakers, field trips, and cultural/social events for congregants of all ages. Some of these experiences will be just for our members, while others will involve collaboration and participation from the larger Jewish community. The possibilities are limited only by our imagination, volunteer energy, and the generosity of donors.

Why a Pesach Appeal?
Because community engagement is an ongoing need, and because the donors and the board wish to maximize both the usefulness and sustainability of the Elaine and Norman Thorpe Fund for Community Engagement, it was important to create a plan to sustain and? grow the fund so that it will continue to meet the congregation’s needs. To ensure that the fund is able to provide a consistent source of funding for community engagement at CST, the fund’s plan includes an annual fundraising appeal. Many congregations hold annual fundraising appeals around Pesach and this is something we have considered over the years. The time seems right as we are coming back together as a community. In addition, Elaine Thorpe’s yahrzeit falls on Pesach which was also her very favorite holiday, so the timing of the appeal is another way to honor her memory and her legacy at CST.

How is the Pesach Appeal different from the Chanukah Appeal?
The primary purpose of our annual Chanukah Appeal is to provide support for CST’s ongoing operational expenses, while the Pesach Appeal focuses on funding initiatives, programs, and activities that connect and elevate the CST community. In other words, the Chanukah Appeal ensures that CST can operate day-to-day, while the Pesach Appeal creates experiences that make CST a vibrant spiritual, educational, and social home for our members and prospective members. By having two separate appeals, we can ensure that we are supporting these two equally important aspects of CST’s well-being and sustainability.

What if we have additional questions?
Please reach out to our Executive Director, Lorelei Berg, President, Patty Rehfus, Vice Presidents, Paul Blatt or Julie Stern, or Treasurer, Buck Baker with any additional questions.


Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784