I have been asked to summarize my two years as the President of Congregation Emanuel.
I would rather start with what I am most proud of. First, I am proud that we started a program called Shabbat Blessings, in which our volunteers bring some cheer and “Jewishness” to folks who are hospitalized in the three area medical centers on Fridays. I have loved the response from our congregants and the community as we have hosted “Broadway Voices” as our spring fundraiser.
I am grateful to the Board of Trustees and officers, who give their time and talents to provide leadership and direction to our synagogue.
Our financial folks, Linda Sumber, Selma Bitz, Steve Schwartz, Bob Brakman, and Leslie Kidder have done a great job of keeping us solvent, as has Mark Trott and his bingo leadership during potentially difficult times.
I am forever grateful to Rabbi Yael for the leadership she provides. Rabbi works tirelessly to be available to all congregants. I will miss our weekly meetings, where we many times disagreed on things, but were able to compromise and forge a great relationship that benefited the congregation.
I have also enjoyed my relationship with Cantor Bob, Regina, Samara, Rachel and Aldo. Each have shown their dedication to the synagogue beyond being employees.
Our religious school has grown over the past two years. This is due, in part, to our religious school director, Samara and our teachers, but also because young families are joining our congregation and sending their children to our school.
Our Brotherhood and Sisterhood are two of the backbones of our synagogue. The members of both groups make a number of contributions that go unnoticed. Under the leadership of Sandi Albelli and Sharon Zepel, Sisterhood is one of our biggest fundraising contributors. Brotherhood led by Jeff Greenberg, has been successful in staging political debates attended by large crowds not only of congregants but the vast majority from the community.
We have established a user friendly, state of the art web page that has informed our congregants and the community of the latest happenings at Congregation Emanuel. We have also reached out to the community with wonderful programs, such as Thanksgiving Interfaith service, Chanukah story telling programs and purim festivals and many more.
Our Social Action committee has grown on a number of fronts, both political and inspirational. Rick Mahler and Deb Cohen organized the first Christmas feast to provide food, entertainment and companionship to local residents who normally would be home alone on Christmas Day. Rick and Deb’s moving away leaves a huge hole that I know will be filled by Joy Weinberg and the other members of the committee.
I am proud of the spirit and enthusiasm from all of our volunteer committee chairs, volunteers and staff.
I am sure I am missing something and probably someone. I apologize for that. Being president does not come with a job description. Although the job can be demanding, I have enjoyed, and even had fun at times, being the president. It has been my honor to lead this great synagogue as it continues into its 166 year. This job is a team effort and can’t be accomplished by one person. Thank you everyone for your support.
The synagogue and our religious community will remain an important part of my life. Our new president, Leslie Kidder will do a great job. I know you will give her the same support you have given me.