Keeping Connected with our President
Keeping Connected November 2023
Growing up, I never had a strong connection to Israel. In fact, probably the most connected I felt was raising money in 5th grade religious school selling fruit slices at Passover to plant trees there – which spoiler alert: the Jewish National Fund doesn’t keep track of your trees like my 10 year old mind expected. So when I landed at Ben Gurion airport this past spring and there were signs and banners that said “Welcome Home”, I assumed it was a message for Israelis returning from overseas trips.
But the message “Welcome Home” was in fact, for me. For me, the 8 other New Hampshire women I was bringing to Israel – most for the first time – and for the 150 women from across the country that were all there on a trip with Momentum. Momentum is focused on bringing the biggest Jewish influencers – Jewish mothers – to Israel for an empowering and inspiring journey. Working with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Momentum combines traveling throughout Israel with personal and Jewish growth. Think of it as “Birthright for Moms – with Wine”.
To say that the trip was life-changing is an understatement. I was lucky enough to be there on Yom Ha’atzmaut – celebrating 75 years of Israel – complete with dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv, flyovers, fireworks, and a BBQ with IDF soldiers. I climbed Masada, floated in the Dead Sea, rode camels, looked out over Lebanon from Rosh Hanikra, visited Tsfat, Akko, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, ate everywhere from gorgeous restaurants to market sabich stands (and ate and ate and ate…). I experienced Israel with other women from my state and country, but also with a small group of women who were until almost 3 weeks ago, retired IDF officers and commanders. These women have now been called up and instead of trading photos of our kids, we are sending prayers and receiving photos of them in their IDF uniforms. Connecting to Israel during my trip was more than JNF trees and dutifully singing Hatikvah like when I was 10 years old. I felt a true, yet unexpected, connection to the people and the land.
As I crisscrossed Israel, travelling to places I had only seen in pictures, I truly began to understand that the message “Welcome Home”, was actually for all of us. While I was at the Kotel, someone asked me, “how many of your family members, your ancestors, have stood here with their hands in this place?” The truth is, none that I know of. But something deep in my soul understood that this was in fact, a homecoming. Israel is home for all of us, regardless if we have been there once or countless times. Israel is our home, even if we have never stepped foot on the land. I hope for everyone to feel that deep sense of connection that I was able to experience. Israel will be waiting to welcome us home again.
Am Yisrael Chai.
Keeping Connected October 2023
I’m wondering… how did I get here? Maybe you’re wondering the same thing? Not in an existential kind of way, though that may be a thought for these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur… but I mean, how did I end up standing in front of you on Rosh Hashanah morning, delivering the President’s speech?
The truth is, this is perhaps a role that has been generations in the making. For those of you who don’t know me, I grew up at Congregation Shalom. I had my Bat Mitzvah here with Rabbi Bard, my Confirmation with Rabbi Perry. I was a religious school teacher as a high schooler, a Shalomites board member and President. I was an advisor when I was in college. I got married here in this sanctuary. As I was growing up, I watched my mother involve herself in temple life. I would see her already very busy calendar fill with temple activities – youth commission meetings, executive committee meetings, board meetings. There would be special projects, events or fundraisers that she would commit herself to. Maybe that commitment wasn’t a surprise for her, because she watched her father, my grandfather, as a founding member and President of the North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, NY. He was involved in the purchasing of the land and the building of the temple, as well as the hiring of the first Rabbi there.More
Keeping Connected September 2023
The next time you come to the temple, or even drive-by, you may notice some additions to the landscape of our space. Over the past year, we have had several members and committees who have been dedicated to strengthening the security of our building while at the same time, maintaining the natural and welcoming aesthetic that we know and love. As you may remember from our Special Meeting in December, 2022, Congregation Shalom applied for a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and we were awarded around $20,000 to help us strengthen our physical barrier around the building.
Keeping Connected August 2023
It is with great honor and respect that I write my first newsletter article as Congregation Shalom’s president. While I have had the pleasure to meet many of you while on committees, at school or working the Hanukkah or Purim parties, there are those of you who I have not met yet – and I can’t wait to do so. I live in Londonderry with my husband Matt, our two kids, Lily and Micah and our two English labs, Winnie and Mack. I grew up coming to Congregation Shalom, so I still have connections to many families who have been here since I was a kid. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that the leaders who I watched as a teen are still dedicated and supportive members and volunteers. It’s lovely to think that perhaps some day, my kids will remember the current families and leaders when they are helping their own synagogue and community.More
Keeping Connected June 2023
I hope you are all enjoying the good weather and getting ready for a restful summer. Please remember to save the date for Annual Meeting on June 13 at 6:30 PM. It is so important for all members to have a say in the business of the congregation so I hope you will make time to attend. Also, our Parking Lot Party on June 17 at 5:30 PM will be a fun time with good food and music so please be sure to RSVP.
Over the next few weeks, you will see some new boulders being installed around our temple. We are finally implementing the security grant we received from the state earlier this year, for hardening of our building. In several weeks, we will also have some nice granite blocks on the sidewalk in front of our door as well. Security still remains top of mind for us.
This is my final newsletter article as President. I just want to say that it has been a great honor and privilege to serve as President of Congregation Shalom these past 4 years. I want to thank all of you, for your patience, your support, your understanding, and your guidance during some very difficult times. I have seriously learned so much from all of you. Our congregation is a special place, a very real extended family, and I am grateful for having had the chance to give back to a community that has given me so much more. I look forward to continuing my volunteer work at Congregation Shalom and finding other ways to contribute (but after a little break).
Please have a safe summer.
With warm regards,