Category Archives: President

President’s Message – Sept. 2019



It may be summer, but a lot has been happening at CBHT in the office, in the “boardroom” and behind the scenes.  The office staff and Board have been busy keeping the wheels of the temple business well-greased.  We recently entered the new fiscal year in July; thank you to all of our members who renewed their membership for this fiscal year!  The staff continues to work on a few lingering bugs in the Shulcloud system, but I strongly encourage you to try out the web-based membership system if you have not already done so.

You may have noticed a few oddities in the appearance of the temple, the missing ceiling tiles inside, or the orange cones near the playground.  Some weeks ago, we had a roof gutter break which caused some water damage inside.  Fortunately, our insurance covered most of the cost of repairs, though not all the repairs have been completed yet.  At the playground, a hole appeared in the ground last month, and we are still investigating its cause and a repair.  We hope to have everything put back together in a few weeks.  With the building and the grounds issues, we’ve been blessed with the help of many knowledgeable members who have offered expert advice.

Meanwhile, the staff and board have been busy planning coming events.  The board meets every month, and we expect to hold another leadership development series in the coming months.  Please let one of the board members know if you have in interest this programming.

The various committees continue their work on religious school programs, security, engagement and many other aspects of our temple community.  Please call or email me or Craig if you have an interest in joining a committee.

All of this activity in and around our temple community could not happen without members donating their time and skills.  I know that every member has time and talent in some area, and I urge you to consider additional ways you might be able to donate some of that time or talent to your temple community.  We depend on everyone contributing financially as they are able to —and thank you!—but we also could not thrive the way we do without the many volunteers who work in the office, in security, at HardLox, as ushers, in the religious school, and so on, in every aspect of our temple community.  So, I invite you to volunteer!  There really is something for everyone.

Tikkun

President’s Message – August 2019



Since being elected president of CBHT a few weeks ago, I have had the opportunity to reflect on why I serve on the board and what it means to me in the context of my connection to our temple community.  Let’s be honest: our board has occasionally had meetings that have gone on too long, then continued in the parking lot.  Some of the tasks the board takes on are the mundane tasks of any organization with a budget, a building, and a membership.  But what makes it all more than worthwhile, and truly a pleasure, is the great group of people on our board that I get to meet with every few weeks.

I’m one of those people who finds value in tackling tasks that just need to get done.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Buddhist who can find the sublime in every mundane task. (And, anyone who tries to tell you they love every minute of every committee meeting they have ever been to shouldn’t be allowed on any committee.)  But our temple board has been blessed with such a great group of kind, generous people that it has never been a burden to devote the time necessary to finish a discussion or make a considered decision.

As we transition into a new board at the beginning of the fiscal year (which started last month), I hope, if you have the opportunity, you will thank our board members for devoting their time and energy to the hard work of temple leadership, whether mundane or sublime.  I hope also that you will find new and interesting ways to participate in temple activities, perhaps even volunteer to join a committee or two.  And, I thank you for being part of our shared temple community.

Tikkun

President’s Message



Over the past two years, when I have spoken to people about my role as president of our temple, I would get that “Oh, I am so sorry” look.  They most always say something about how tedious it must be to deal with the complainers, the naysayers.  I can honestly say that has not been my experience.

My experience has been that nearly all my interactions are with kind and compassionate congregants who only want the best for our temple.  My experience has been with trustees who are engaged and when we have tough decisions before us they make valuable contributions.  My experience has been that executive committee members do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to deal with all kinds of complex issues.  I have had the pleasure of collaborating with our dedicated staff, executive director and rabbi.  I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many volunteers.

We have faced some challenges during my tenure as president.  We’ve had to navigate some serious issues, including a financial deficit and the need to improve security.  Sometimes there were heated debates and there were often differing opinions.  But in every situation, my respect, admiration and love for the people I got to work with only grew.  And, I had the added benefit of getting to work closely with the Rabbi.  This has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

As I wrap up my time in this leadership role, and also wrap up my time at CBHT, I can’t help but reflect on the many wonderful moments that have shaped my and my family’s lives here.  But it is truly the people I’ve come to know and the friends I have made, whom I will miss.  I continue to be amazed by the efforts of so many to make this a special place.

I recently had the chance to dip my toe into temple life at a synagogue in Nashville.  Someone there asked if I was ‘synagogue shopping’, and I guess the answer is “yes.”  The transition for me won’t be easy, as I believe our temple has set the bar incredibly high.  But I will know when I’ve found my new temple home because it will be filled with kind and generous people who work hard to make their faith community thrive.  I am so grateful to have learned the value of that here at CBHT.

All My Best,

Karen

 

President’s Message – May 2019



As I wrote to you back in March, at the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the Board of Trustees authorized the sale of the property that CBHT owns on Washington Road, behind the playground.  Since then, we had measurements taken to assure that we had enough green space on temple property to meet city requirements, surveyed the parcel of land we were interested in selling, and divided it into three small lots suitable for residential construction.  I am delighted to report that we closed on the sale of that property on April 11th.  All three lots were sold to one private buyer for the price of $425,000.  After commissions, the cost of the survey, and other costs related to the closing, CBHT will net approximately $370,000 from this sale.

Please join me in thanking Tikkun Gottschalk and Larry Weiss for the tremendous amount of work they both put into this process.  They are very dedicated leaders, working on behalf of our temple.

About $280,000 (75%) of this $370,000 must be used to pay down our First Citizens’ mortgage, according to the terms of our mortgage loan.  We have the opportunity to further reduce the balance of our mortgage by using some or all of the remaining 25% of the proceeds.  This will save us money by reducing the amount of interest we pay on the mortgage.  The final amount will be decided at the April meeting of the Board of Trustees, after this article is due.  But, if we use the proceeds from the sale to pay down, for example, $300,000 on the mortgage, we will save more than $44,000 in interest over the next three years (at our current interest rate of 4.8%).

We are so fortunate to be able to make this significant payment toward the balance we owe on the mortgage.  And, after subtracting outstanding pledges and this payment from the sale of the property, we will still owe First Citizens Bank approximately $450,000 (before considering interest) for the construction of our social hall, gallery, and school, as well as renovations.  Selling this piece of property certainly puts us in a better place, but we continue to have a significant amount of money to raise to retire the rest of the debt.  This seems like the perfect time to reflect on how much our new and renovated space adds to our experience at CBHT

Dave Social Hall and the gallery have allowed us to hold so many memorable events in a light-filled, beautiful space.  We host life cycle events, temple community-building events, events for the greater Jewish community, and even pick up a little revenue from renting the space to other organizations.  As someone whose family celebrated one bar mitzvah in the old Unger Hall and one bar mitzvah in the new Dave Hall, I can attest that the new space is a world apart!

The same holds true for our school, including the final build-out that happened only a short time ago.  Those bright classrooms and the communal space and kitchen are such an improvement over our old school.  It’s easy to take it for granted, but it gave us the opportunity to grow and every week to present a welcoming space for our children and teachers.

Our sanctuary got a much-needed face lift, our rabbi and staff got new offices, and we got a library, new restrooms, and a new kitchen.  And an amphitheater! How lucky are we to enjoy Shabbat services outside on a beautiful summer evening, while watching the sun set over the mountains?!

The next time you walk into our temple, I hope that you’ll stop for a second to appreciate how beautiful our space is.  I hope that you’ll reflect on the important role the space plays in making your temple experience meaningful.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees, my thanks go out to everyone who has contributed to the capital campaign to make this space a reality.  If you haven’t contributed to the efforts that made all of this possible, or if you’re inspired to contribute more, I hope you’ll consider doing so.  We still need everyone’s help to retire the remaining debt.  Please reach out to our executive director, Craig, to discuss your contribution.

My Best,

Karen Hyman

President, CBHT

May, 2019

 

President’s Message



How fortunate we are to have such a ‘deep bench’ at CBHT.  We have a considerable number of very talented ‘players’ who can step up during a transition or help fill a knowledge gap when we’re sailing in uncharted territory.  Some of this is by design.  By the time someone moves into the president role, they have typically already served four years (two as second vice president and two as first vice president) on the executive committee, and usually more years on the board.  After a two-year term as president, the immediate past-president stays engaged, attending executive committee meetings for another two years.  Phew…that’s eight years!  Our committee operates as a very collaborative group, so everyone is engaged in working out the challenges that face our temple.  We gain knowledge, experience and institutional memory along the way, making us well prepared to lead the board of trustees.  Because of this experience, I think that most presidents will agree that they were able to hit the ground running when it was their turn in the leadership position.

The ‘deep bench’ concept runs deeper than the executive committee, though.  Our trustees bring so many talents to the table and, because they’re willing to share those talents, we all greatly benefit.  In the middle of February, we held a special meeting of the board of trustees at which we discussed the sale of the property on Washington Road.  The up-front work by Tikkun Gottschalk and Larry Weiss to consider the financial and legal issues and to prepare that parcel of land for sale was considerable, and the expertise that they, along with Gaia Goldman and Shannon Tuch, contributed to the discussion was incredibly valuable.  Whenever we’ve had issues to address, someone with expertise steps up or someone takes it upon themselves to develop their understanding and become a ‘content expert’.  I’m thinking about Eric Naimark and Raymond Capelouto immersing themselves in temple safety, and Steve Shulruff and Chuck Rosenblum digging deeper to understand and make recommendations around our financial planning.  I also remember the tremendous amount of work that Nelson Sobel and Bob Davis put in to help us develop a strategic plan a few years ago.

Our bench of talented players doesn’t even stop there.  Everyone around the table at the special board meeting engaged in meaningful discussion that will lead to a really positive outcome.  I’ve seen it over and over, this group of trustees earnestly engaging in meaningful discussion, with humor, good will, and with their egos checked at the door.  We have dealt with difficult issues and we don’t always agree, but we never doubt the intentions of our fellow board members.  This temple really is very fortunate to have a dedicated group of leaders.

By the time this is published, everyone will have undoubtedly heard that James McMahon is stepping down as our choir director as he and Lauren are moving to Raleigh.  We can’t quite imagine our Sacred Music Team (SMT) without James; we will all feel the loss.  But, here comes Sarah Kim Wilde, who has been ‘warming up’ (to continue the ‘deep bench’ theme!) for a while now, to step in to the choir director role.  How great is that?!  It’s possible not only due to Rabbi creating and nurturing our incredible SMT, but also Sarah Kim’s commitment to the success of our music program.  Similarly, while we are saddened to have Toby Koritsky, our Education Director, leave, I am confident in the talent and dedication of our teachers, who will ensure that our school and our children continue to thrive.

This summer, when my term is over, I won’t just be leaving my role as president, I will also be leaving CBHT and Asheville, as Ed has accepted a new opportunity in Nashville.  It will be really hard to leave my congregational family, plus I’m kind of bummed that I won’t be able to enjoy the immediate past president role!  But, the ‘deep bench’ of both lay leaders and professional staff at CBHT, along with our MVP, Rabbi Meiri, will continue to ensure that this temple remains a very special community in which to engage with each other and worship.

My Best,

Karen

Karen Hyman, President