2018 Congregational Meeting
Each chairperson from the Congregation’s committees was asked to submit their annual year end summary. These are the high points from each of their reports. When you look at their efforts, you realize how busy each has been and how indebted we are to all of the congregants, particularly those who are volunteers, that help to sustain us and keep us as a vibrant part of the Hudson Valley.
We begin with our Fundraising Committee, chaired by Darlene Levit. You have already heard from the finance report, how successful they were. On behalf of the Board and the synagogue, thank you to Darlene and the committee members for planning and hosting two very successful events.
Next, the Caring Community sustains members in times of joy, need and sorrow. After six years of chairing the committee, Pat Cohen passed the baton to Elisa Williams. This is no easy undertaking. This past year, volunteers provided shiva’s for eight families which consisted of a hot meal and support plus snacks and coffee for three additional nights and light shopping when needed. Elisa’s committee has become so big, she has an east and west of the Hudson River team.
Our Welcome and Membership committee, chaired by Sue Worthman welcomed 10 new member family units this year while five families left the congregation. Sue and her committee, hosted the new member shabbat, planned and completed the High Holiday Greeter program that includes front door greeting, greeter tables, ushers and bimah sitters. They were also welcoming guests at each bnai mitzvah, the congressional primary debate, the two fundraisers and at times were greeters prior to religious school this past year.
The Committee for Spiritual Practices, was chaired this year by Ellen Leifer. Her committee meets once a month to plan and review programs involving each of the Jewish holidays celebrated at the synagogue. Special effort is made to present programs for the young and adults. Included was the Purim Schpiel that was written by Cantor Bob and Kevin Donahue and presented by members of the committee. The committee also organized the summer outdoor services, Succot pot luck dinner, Succot Shalom and Interfaith Thanksgiving service, and many of the plans for the High Holiday services. On those weekends when the Rabbi is out of town, Ellen’s committee lined up guest teachers for Friday night and Saturday morning services.
Our next committee is Shabbat Blessings, chaired by Sharon Zepel. This past year, volunteers brought over 170 boxes of homemade challah, kosher grape juice, battery operated candles and written prayers to Jewish patients in the three area hospitals in time for Shabbat. The response from patients ranged from surprise, gratitude and thanks. Several indicated a willingness to donate to the synagogue. It is also a shared mitzvah for the volunteers and the nursing staffs love the program as well.
Our Sisterhood were once again busy this past year. Co-Presidents Sandi Albelli and Sharon Zepel ended the year with 58 paid members. Sisterhood had several very successful fund raisers, including the honey drive, ladies night, yard sale and tree of life. The ladies hosted Break the Fast for over 100 congregants and guests, third annual ice cream social, Sisterhood Shabbat and Oneg; the women’s sedar; conducted a special program on Immigration; supplied and cut pies for the Interfaith service; and co-sponsored Trivia Night with the Brotherhood. Sisterhood financially contributed to both the Gala and Broadway Voices concert; sent both Pat Brakman and Barbara Copolla to the District Women’s Reform Judaism conference in Boston and hosted a paid-up membership dinner at Reginatos. I have also been informed that Sisterhood is purchasing a new dishwasher for the kitchen which will be installed soon or by the first of the year. All told, Sisterhood contributed over $6000 in financial or in-kind contributions to the synagogue and budget.
The synagogue House Committee consisting of primarily Joe Cohen, Steve Hirsch and Dave Rosenthal, likewise had a very busy year with added support from a number of additional volunteers.
Work Completed 2018
- A Broken plate glass window above Zimet Religious School door was replaced.
- All gardens & shrubbery in front of building were cleared with the help of Jordan Corvin and his Eagle Scout Troup.
- Playground were cleaned out and improved by the Corvin Family consisting of Tyler, Jordan, Mathew, April, Adele and Michael.
- Row of trees located along the north side of the building that were encroaching &overhanging were cut back.
- Parking lot perimeter had concrete bumper stops reinstalled.
- The dumpster in the parking lot was upgraded to be “bear proof”.
- All closets & storage areas in building were cleaned out and contents removed to a 20 square yard dumpster/approximately 8000 pounds of refuse was removed.
- The Sisterhood cleaned and reorganized the kitchen.
- All classrooms were cleaned and painted as needed thanks to Ray Williams.
- Exterior beautification continues thanks to the generosity of Ruth & Conrad Heisman through the Congregation Emanuel Beautification Fund
- An eight-foot electric menorah was installed on our front lawn. Materials were donated by Marty Miller; menorah designed, built and installed by Matt Bryant, with help in installation from Howie Leifer and Mark Trott.
- There were several security enhancements made including indoor emergency lighting and outdoor perimeter lighting; and closed circuit video surveillance.
Another active committee was Social Action. The committee was co-chaired by Rick Mahler and Deb Cohen. After last years annual meeting, Social Action hosted the first annual Christmas Feast for families in the Kingston and surrounding area who would not otherwise be able to have a Christmas meal. This event was the idea of Joy Weinberg. Joy brought her ideas to the committee and helped to organize the volunteers and publicize the event. This endeavor was a wonderful community service which also united much of our congregation as volunteers and brought positive attention to our congregation. Over 125 meals were served to guests with food donated by area merchants, with turkeys cooked by volunteers, and served by students of our confirmation class. In addition there was live music provided by local musicians, Christmas gifts presented to the children by “Santa” and door prizes to adults in attendance. The second Christmas feast will be in two weeks.
Social Action also provided assistance for the Holocaust Torah Restoration Fund, which was chaired by James Ayton and his family. Enough money was raised to restore portions of the Torah in time for usage during the High Holidays. Social Action organized the third annual Montrepose Cemetery Gravestone Restoration in August with a dozen temple leaders and volunteers helping with the clean up. In time for the fall’s mid-term election, Social Action trained some 20 congregant-volunteers to help people from the community register to vote and also to help them fill out absentee ballots when necessary. Another worthy project was painting and cleaning up a Shelter at Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church that is temporary housing for undocumented Guatemalan immigrants. Volunteers also provided teaching and puzzle games for the children. Finally, several volunteers worked with residents of the Darmstadt Shelter, helping them to develop skills and materials to find jobs.
PTO (Parent Teacher Organization).
The committee is chaired by Jenny Bryant. The committee serves as a support to the religious school and helped Samara plan this years Chanukah Happening, the Purim Carnival, the parent greeters program that welcomed students and parents and answered questions to get everyone to the right place. PTO also organized the Teacher Appreciation Oneg, volunteered at the Religious school booth at the farmers market on kids day; and planned and participated in the mock sedar and Passover wanderings. What is very exciting is that this year’s school enrollment increased by nine student from six new families for a total of 49 students.
We conclude the summary reports with Brotherhood with leadership provided by President Jeff Greenberg. Brotherhood, this past year, hosted a debate between the seven candidates running in our 19th Congressional District. They also hosted several fund raising events including Trivia Night and the annual Bocce tournament. The guys are always available to control parking and provide “muscle” for many of our synagogue events.
Leaving the Board at the end of the month are Skit Rabbino, Mark Trott and Rick Mahler. Thank you Mark for your 30 years on the Board. We are grateful for your over 5 years as president as well as the many years as vice president of administration. We are especially thankful for your continued leadership overseeing Bingo each week, which is a key component to keeping our doors open.
Rick Mahler resigned and moved with Deb Cohen to Buffalo. Rick served on the board for 20 years and was a leader of our Social action committee. He was primarily responsible for the annual clothing and food drives and the monthly staffing of the soup kitchen at the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church.
Thank you to Skit Rabbino for being a board member two separate times and who was a member of our PTO committee. We are grateful for Skit’s many years of serving on the board and her recommendations and suggestions which benefited the congregation and our community.
We encourage our congregants to participate on the various committees and activities at the synagogue in 2019.