Teen leader: Sam Brink helps with fundraisers, minyans | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Teen leader: Sam Brink helps with fundraisers, minyans

Among the challenges facing traditional synagogues are finances and attendance.

Sam Brink has helped Temple Menorah with both issues, volunteering at fundraisers and completing minyans.

“Sam is a very humble individual who always makes himself available to help with any volunteering at our synagogue,” said Rabbi Gil-Ezer Lerer, spiritual leader at Temple Menorah, 9363 N. 76th St., Milwaukee.

Brink, 18, is the middle child of Sharon and Don Brink’s three sons.

Sam Brink

Sam Brink

“Whenever Rabbi needed some muscle men, they are called in to help, especially for the rummage sale,” Sharon said, adding that the rummage sale has been the synagogue’s biggest fundraiser for many years.

“And Sam would do things such as run games at our Purim party. He participates in services and helps out with different things the rabbi needs.” That, Rabbi Lerer said, includes moving items around the synagogue.

Sharon is very active at Menorah, and Sam said, “She has been a big influence on what I do there.”

Sam is in his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he plans to major in kinesiology. He also is interested in studying global health.

He had a 3.9 grade-point average his senior year at Homestead High School, where he graduated in the top 20 of his class and played baseball for four years – he was a starting outfielder on varsity his junior and senior years. He also swam for three years at Homestead.

He enjoyed two years in BBYO, but admits, “I didn’t pursue that as much as I could have.”

His mother said he was very shy in kindergarten, when she would get excited if his teacher said, “Sam actually asked a question today.” But he grew into an outgoing, respectful, responsible young man who spoke well at his bar mitzvah and became a student leader at Homestead, where he was the link between the administration and the senior class during his final year.

He began going to temple “because my mom made me,” Sam said. “But it grew on me, and I came to realize it is a worthwhile experience with lots of benefits. It’s nice to be with a group of people with common values, striving for the same thing, being part of a community. And you gain knowledge of who you are and who your ancestors are.”

The Brinks’ home in Mequon is about 10 minutes from Temple Menorah. “If they are short men, rabbi knows he can call our boys for a minyan,” said Sharon, who has been a Menorah member for a long time.

“He is a wonderful and bright student,” Lerer said of Sam.

Sam said he would encourage younger teens to volunteer at temple.

“You may not think it worthwhile at first, but if you stick with it, you get to know more people and it gives you lots of satisfaction,” he said.

 * * *

Teen leaders

The Chronicle is featuring eight Jewish teens who give back to their community – one for each Chanukah candle! Is there a synagogue, community or teen you’d like to recommend for our next Teen Leaders project? Let us know at Chronicle@MilwaukeeJewish.org.