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.
Karen Hyman, President
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Previous messages from the President
I’ve been thinking a lot about Jewish food lately. My daughter is planning her wedding and is designing the menu around ‘Jew-ish’ food — pastrami and rye, falafel in pita, black and white cookies, Israeli salads — a little of this and a little of that, mixing what we think of as culturally Jewish food … Continue reading President’s Message – February 2019
CBHT Heroes For a while now, we have been thinking about honoring congregants who’ve made important contributions to CBHT by instituting a ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award. It certainly makes sense, as there are many people who have given so much of their time and talent. In fact, it’s a huge challenge to think about … Continue reading President’s Message – January 2019
On the Shabbat when the murders took place in the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh, the Torah portion was Vayera, from Genesis, recounting how Abraham welcomed perfect strangers into his tent. As Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), said in his initial statement after the shootings, it was so … Continue reading Presidents Message – December 2018
Excerpted from President’s Erev Rosh HaShanah Speech I’d like to take a minute to tell you a little about my personal Jewish journey. I converted to Judaism in 2004, but my journey began in 2001, in the weeks right after 9/11. My sister’s husband was killed that day, while he was working at the top … Continue reading Presidents Message – October 2018
Our new Annual Commitment structure sets a base commitment amount as well as commitment levels for a range of income levels. This new structure has raised an interesting question from some of our families. They say that they just don’t ‘use’ the temple that much. They may live far away, or they just don’t choose … Continue reading 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 … Continue reading President’s Message
Last month I had a chance to spend some extra time with our religious school families, teachers and staff at both the May family service and the teacher appreciation ceremony on the last day of religious school. On both occasions, I was reminded of the amazing effort put forth by our teachers, our madrichim, our … Continue reading President’s Message
I sat in the back at temple on a recent Friday. Not in my usual spot near the front, and not on the bimah; someone else was taking a turn. We were expecting a call from one of our kids, who was coming home for the weekend and would need a ride, so we wanted … Continue reading President’s Message
It has become axiomatic that to be a Jew is to care about the world around us. To be a Reform Jew is to be engaged in the ongoing work of tikkun olam, striving to improve the world. The ancient command to seek justice has led to a long and proud tradition of political activism … Continue reading President’s Message