Sof History Project:

Excerpts from the Preface to the Appendix of the Sof History Project

By Mathew Sgan

Sof Ma'arav Appendix

During the course of doing the research for the narrative (Honey and Poi) describing the origins and development of Congregation Sof Ma’arav, I was fortunate to be given a treasure chest of documents, photos, brochures, and newsletters. Such materials were of tremendous importance to recreating the history of Sof and telling its story.  Through them and other sources, I was able to reconstruct lists of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, office holders, shul finances, and events which added to the record.

While I was able to convey encapsulated reviews of such materials in moving the narrative forward, I felt an additional obligation to share them in some original form with all interested parties. They represent what is beyond the bare bones of the story and have a remarkable ability to transport readers back to being a member at the time the item was paramount.

The original incorporation papers and the names of the incorporators are examples of just who the Sof pioneers were and how they went about making sure that Sof had a firm foundation on which to build. Those papers are included as is a presentation of the actual exchanges during the egalitarian debate (role of women during services), which was a watershed moment in Sof history. That debate as recorded, invites readers to join in the discussion and to consider what their position would have been at that time. It also enables a person to bring a current perspective into the picture.

Organizing and displaying the materials was not best done, in my opinion, chronologically. Rather various topics presented themselves as being the most helpful for readers to follow and understand the nature of Sof during its 40 plus years. Certain topic titles (Communications; Community; Education) enabled me to classify items in an understandable way and to present them in the various forms that they assumed during Sof’s development. The narrative provided the story; the Appendix provided additional perspective and the backdrop of the story.