President’s Newsletter Articles
November 2018 Newsletter Article
I realize some of you might be tempted to skip over this column as soon as you realize that I’m writing to ask for volunteers. Wait! Please give me me a chance to say why your reaction shouldn’t be, “Oh no, not again, can’t they ask someone else?”
As you know, we rely on our committees to provide many services which are the lifeblood of our temple. A little over a year ago when I became President, I knew of a number of committees which had open positions and that it would be my job to help fill them. There were volunteers who had moved, were burned out, or were ready to move on to something new – and they needed to be replaced with fresh people who were interested in becoming involved. It was a process of working to find the right people to step in to fill some holes. I’ve been very pleased over these months to have been a part of making progress in these important volunteer areas.
Well, it turns out that looking for volunteers is a never-ending process. Change is the norm. Each volunteer has a limit on how long they want to be in the same position, doing essentially the same thing. We each maintain a balance in our lives between looking for new challenges and wanting to keep to the comfortable status quo. There comes a time for every volunteer when they let us know they’d like to move on. If circumstances permit, most are gracious and offer to stay until someone can replace them, but we must respect their wishes once they’ve let us know..
October 2018 Newsletter Article
First – The membership survey is being sent by email very shortly. It will give each of you an opportunity to tell us what we are doing well, where we can improve, and where to focus our resources in the future. We hope every one of you will fill out the survey.
Next – I’d like to share something personal I spoke about at Rosh Hashanah, when I said I’d realized recently that blueberries are a fantastic metaphor for Judaism!
This hit me a few days after we got back from a trip. Here’s what happened: we got home, I took a few days to get caught up on laundry, etc. and then I looked up the hours for blueberry picking at my favorite farm.
Let me interrupt my story for some background –
During the season, I go to the farm to pick every week. I really love to pick blueberries. I like being outdoors, I like knowing that the berries are local, and I like that I’ve got a connection to them because…I picked each one. I feel entitled to bring home as many as I want because, again, I put in the work. My family never has a problem eating as many as get picked. This was especially true when our kids were home. Years ago, like lots of parents, we’d take the kids to pick apples and blueberries. More
September 2018 Newsletter Article
The High Holidays are relatively early this year, and it seems appropriate that this month’s column should speak to the importance of this time of year. The problem I’m finding is that I’m just a “Jew in the pew”, as the phrase goes. Rabbi Perry will inevitably be more eloquent, provide more insight, and be more knowledgeable on themes related to the High Holidays than I will ever be.
My brother, trying to be supportive, suggested that I could google ideas for what to write about this month. Someone else suggested that I could write about how imposing it feels to need to write something with appropriate significance. More
August 2018 Newsletter Article
In today’s fast-paced world, a website that is more than three years old looks dated. The URJ recognized this and decided last year to switch all websites to a more modern platform. This news happily came just a short time after our own Communications Committee recommended to the Board that we update our website. Eileen Hirsch has once again put in the hours needed to design and create our next generation website, and thanks to the URJ and a member’s contribution it’s been done at no financial cost to our temple.
This new website will give a great new face to the world for Congregation Shalom, while continuing to provide all the information that members have come to expect. Prospective members’ first contact with a synagogue is often through a website. Our home page is designed to show what we’re all about – highlighting our welcoming spirit, the caring nature of our community, and key events. The home page also gives our members easy access to information on services, events, URJ articles, and more. More
July 2018 Newsletter Article
June can be a bit overwhelming for many of us. I mean that in a good way.
There is so much to take note of and celebrate this time of year. Many of us have family members graduating from college, high school, or even kindergarten and we stop to commemorate these happy events. Here at the temple we have recently had an adult B’nai Mitzvah service, Chai School graduation, and installation of our new Board. Not too long ago we passed the Torah down to our incoming Kitah Hay class, and Jodi led our children’s choir at our Teacher Appreciation Shabbat. Most weeks from spring through June a son or daughter in our community becomes a bar or bat mitzvah. There is indeed much that we take time to celebrate every year at this time.
Transitions can fall into all kinds of categories. We had a beautiful evening honoring Yael and, though we will miss her immensely, we have already started to forge new bonds with Dale as leader of our school. A number of temple members have stepped up recently to chair committees, often taking over from other temple members who had served in those spots for years. And just recently our membership voted to accept a new set of Bylaws, bringing our top governing document into the 21stcentury.
The point is that all of this represents growth, and that’s a good thing. Those who move on to new things are growing. Those who step into their shoes are growing. We have these sorts of milestones and transitions happening around us all year long. But in the early summer we all tend to stop and take notice a bit more.
June 2018 Newsletter Article
Each year at this time, the president has the honor of announcing who has been named Congregation Shalom’s Congregant of the Year. I am pleased to say that this year Lynne Rothstein is being honored as our Congregant of the Year in recognition of her long history of making volunteerism to our community a central part of her life. She is a person who has made significant contributions to the well-being of our community over many years. A list cannot really articulate the level of passion, love, and commitment she has made in our congregation. She is a past President of Congregation Shalom and has continued to be an all-around “go to” person. More