Keeping Connected with our President
February 2018 Newsletter Article
What would you say is at the heart of a synagogue? The rabbi? The sanctuary? Our children? Our volunteers?
These are all great answers. But here’s one more – the kitchen!
We all know that food is central to our practice of Judaism. It is true in our homes, with latkes at Chanukah and matzoh ball soup at our Seders. And it is certainly true within the walls of our temple building. There are many examples…Nearly every Friday evening we offer an Oneg where we share food and socialize with others who have come to Shabbat services. We hold a Second Seder each year for the community, Brotherhood makes latkes for the school children, and Sisterhood traditionally holds a dinner to kick off each new year. In fact, I’d say that most events and meetings I attend involve snacks. We rely on having a functioning kitchen for all of this. More
January 2018 Newsletter Article
As I am writing this 2017 is rapidly coming to a close, and it’s been a busy end of the year for me. I attended the URJ Biennial earlier this month and came away eager to share the new ideas I was exposed to with others in leadership at our temple. Equally fascinating was to talk with our other temple leaders who attended and learn what they took from their Biennial experience. It is important (and reassuring) to remember that we at Congregation Shalom are part of a much larger Reform Jewish movement in North America. The URJ provides resources to us that we can always turn to for guidance. Of course, we are not just like every other Reform synagogue in America, and we always keep in mind what makes us unique and special even as we might draw on the knowledge and experience of others. I find the deep-seated values at the center of Congregation Shalom set us apart from some other temple communities, and our leadership challenge is to respect those values while leading into the future.
The end of December has kept me busy with friends and family. How wonderful it is to have my adult children come home, and to make new memories with my family and close friends. We follow the standard Jewish custom of going to the movies and getting Chinese food on Christmas day…I have to say that I got a welcome reinforcement of my role as your president from my fortune cookie: “Executive ability is prominent in your make up.” Funny how some fortunes come at just the right time!
I wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful 2018.
November 2017 Newsletter Article
Our 50th Anniversary Gala celebration was a phenomenal success! It was the crowning point of this year’s 50th anniversary year of celebrations. I’m writing this a few days later, and I’m still floating high on the sense of accomplishment, gratitude, nostalgia, and enthusiasm that filled the room Sunday evening.
The gala was framed as a tribute to the founding families, to the past presidents, and to our spiritual leaders. But, as master of ceremonies Stephen Rodman pointed out, everyone in the room that night has been a part of the vital community that we call Congregation Shalom.
The 50th Anniversary Committee, chaired by Liz Denly, pulled together a party to rival a wedding or bar mitzvah celebration. Every detail was attended to, from the food and flowers, to the photography, to the Tribute Books on every table. The committee worked together in a way that the best committees do to plan a party that will be remembered for years.More
August 2017 Newsletter Article
Summer is half-way over now, and the activity level at the temple reflects that. Sundays and Wednesdays are noticeably quieter while school is on hiatus. But the business of the temple continues, even on these hot days. Summer cleaning, with an emptier building, is more thorough. School registrations have been processed in anticipation of fall classes. Rabbi Perry and the Ritual Committee have begun planning for the High Holidays. B’Nai Mitzvah tutoring continues for those with autumn dates. And the Board of Trustees meets year round.
We want to let our members know what the business of the temple is, and how the Board is addressing it. Every member of this congregation should be able to understand decisions that are being made by the Board.More
July 2017 Newsletter Article
It is an honor to be starting my term as Congregation Shalom’s President. I feel humbled to be entrusted with this role, and eager to rise to the challenge of leading our community. I feel the task of nurturing and supporting our vibrant Jewish community is a sacred one, and I will do all that I can to lead with enthusiasm and mindfulness.
Our immediate Past President, Tamar Wexler, along with many others, has helped me to understand that, although there are often many sides to an issue, there is usually one direction that encompasses our Jewish values and allows us to move forward with clarity. She hands the reins to me with many important tasks well underway, including re-writing of our governing ByLaws, a committee actively working on long term planning, and a parking lot project that is very close to completion. Speaking of which, I offer a big thank you to Mitch Hyatt who, along with expert advice from Linda Lischer, is transforming the entryway of our building with beautiful plantings.More