President’s Message

A strong board of trustees in an essential element of a successful non-profit organization, and we are no exception. Even in the best of times, officers and trustees need to be engaged in both the short and long-term issues that impact their organization. And, when facing a crisis, it is all the more important for them to focus on the problems at hand, ask the hard questions, and be willing to make difficult decisions.

Over the past year, each and every member of the CBHT Board of Trustees has dedicated their time and attention to the success of our temple. They have tackled difficult issues and worked collaboratively toward solutions as we realized the extent of our financial problems. I hope you will join me in thanking them for their tremendous efforts. The progress we’ve made has everything to do with their commitment.

I want to especially thank Sabrina Rockoff, the only trustee who has cycled off the board for this year. Sabrina consistently contributed thoughtful advice, both legal and otherwise, and always with the best interests of our congregation in mind. We will all miss her frank and honest conversations, and her humor!

As we embark on this new year, with its own set of challenges, I am so grateful to welcome two new trustees who I know will enrich our organization. They are Raymond Capelouto and Lee Goldberg.

Raymond and his wife of 35 years, Wendy, moved to Asheville part time in 2016 and full time just this month. Raymond was the president of Temple Israel in Tallahassee, and served on the URJ board, including in the role of Vice Chair of the Camping Committee, for sixteen years. He and Wendy love Asheville, including how welcoming the temple has made them feel. He feels his experience will help him bring a big-picture perspective to the issues before the board. He has served on other non-profit boards, including as the Chairman of the board of their local hospice, and has learned the importance of thinking about how short-term decisions impact the long term well-being of an organization.

Lee Goldberg, who is our new assistant treasurer, is also new to Asheville. He and his wife, Robyn, moved here just a year ago, from North Miami Beach, Florida. When you ask Lee about his involvement at his old temple, Temple Sinai of North Dade, the first thing he tells you is that he blew the shofar on Rosh Hashanah for eight years. He also served on search committees for their cantor and executive director, the finance and security committees, and chaired the campus and facilities committee. He was a member of the board of trustees for four years and became their 2nd vice president before he relocated here. He also serves on the Insurance Advisory Committee of the URJ. Lee’s goal is to always leave a place better than he found it. He is honored to be a part of the leadership of what he thinks of as an historic Jewish community, where it is his goal, with Larry Weiss and the finance committee, to identify any and all possible ways to achieve and maintain a balanced budget and to create a financial plan that will sustain our temple for future generations.

Please join me in welcoming Raymond and Lee. They, along with the rest of us on your Board of Trustees, are looking forward to bringing their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for sustaining our precious temple community.

As always, please feel free to give me a call or drop me a line if you’d like to talk.

My Best, Karen

Between You and Me

You may remember the NPR audio series called This I Believe that aired a decade ago. They were short, personal essays written by various guests about a core conviction borne from an impactful life experience. I will never forget one called, “Always Go to the Funeral.” In it, the author recalled how her father insisted on taking her to funerals throughout her childhood but that what he really meant to teach her was how to show up for things even when she didn’t want to and how to show up for people even when it’s hard.

When I became a rabbi, I signed up for a life of showing up and I can’t think of any more meaningful way to spend my time, even when it’s hard, even when I’m out of gas and don’t think there’s anything left in the tank. Showing up to all of that is both the greatest joy and greatest challenge of my rabbinate because it often isn’t possible to be everywhere I’d like to be and it’s not always clear where I truly need to be. Oftentimes, I am pulled in the direction of urgent matters only to run short of time for the ordinary, but sweet moments of people’s lives as much as I’d like.

Every once in a while, however, the waters part in my otherwise chaotic calendar. In June, after years of friendly invitations, I was finally able to show up at a book share at Pisgah View HeadStart where temple members Marty and Kathryn Mann and Jim Theobald volunteer as members of the Tikkun Olam committee. Every other High Holiday season, Marty invites our congregation to donate children’s books that he distributes to kids who don’t have the resources to enjoy reading in their homes. Each comes with a sticker that says that the book is a gift from their friends at Congregation Beth HaTephila. It’s a beautiful Temple project, but until I showed up, I didn’t realize just how moved I’d be.

I was greeted at the door lovingly by Lorraine, the supervisor of the program. I knew immediately from her smile that these kids were lucky to spend each weekday welcomed by her warmth. As I proceeded into the building, I was introduced in each classroom filled with children, dressed in their best, playing with toys, learning to share and do puzzles and build with blocks. After the tour, a display of books was set up in the common area. Marty took small groups of children one after the other and invited them to choose one book to take home with them. You can imagine how precious the expressions on their excited faces were.
The book share is a special event at Pisgah View HeadStart. But what is truly remarkable is that the kids there know they can count on Mr. and Mrs. Mann and Mr. Theobald. They come to visit them every week. They are a presence in their lives. And they make a difference.

This I believe: each of us has a circle of people we make a habit of showing up for: our partners, our parents, our children, our pets. But life is always beckoning us to stretch and show up for a child, for a sick friend, for a stranger. The only question is, will we?

From Life’s Little Jewish Instruction Book – Leonard Sorcher

  • The optometrist sees the donuts. The pessimist sees the hole.
  • If you can’t say something nice, say it in Yiddish.

  • It’s not who you know. It’s who you know had a nose job.
  • If it tastes good, it’s probably not Kosher.

  • Who else could’ve invented the 50 – minute hour?
  • WASPs never leave and never say good-bye. Jews say good – bye and never leave.

  • Twenty percent off is a bargain. 50% off a Mitzvah.
  • Israel is the land of milk and honey. Florida the land of milk of magnesia.

  • Pork is forbidden. A pig in a blanket makes a nice hors d’oeuvre.
  • The High Holidays have absolutely nothing to do with marijuana.

  • Where there is smoke. There may be smoked salmon.
  • Never take a front row seat at a bris.

  • Never leave a restaurant empty-handed.
  • Spring ahead. Fall back. Winter in Miami Beach.

  • According to Jewish dietary law, pork and shellfish can be eaten only in a Chinese restaurant.
  • No meal is complete without leftovers.

  • What business is a yenta in? Yours.
  • Laugh now. One day you’ll be driving a big car and eating dinner at four in the afternoon.
  • Schmeer today, gone tomorrow.

Perspective Matters

A resident arrived to these shores was trying to orient himself to his new land.
“Tell me something” he asked a friend. “How far is it from New York to Philadelphia?”

About 100 miles,” answered the friend.

And from Philadelphia to New York?”

Why, it is the same distance, naturally.”

What’s so natural, retorted the newcomer. Backwards and forwards is not necessarily the same distance.
For example, from Purim to Passover is one month. But from Passover to Purim, isn’t it 11 months?”

Professor Higgins: “Good morning sir. How are you?”
Professor Einstein: “Relative to what?”

…and everything is, isn’t it?

Israel Trip – Final day

It’s the last night in Israel for most of the group as we depart for the return to Asheville. We’ve had a marvelous trip, very educational and very entertaining. We’ve had joyous times and emotional times that have left none of us unchanged. We know Israel and each other much better.

Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to speak to us upon our return,

Marty and the rest of the gang.

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