President’s Message – January 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 where we would start and how we could possibly narrow it down to just one person. So, I thought I would just start by telling you about some people who have stood out to me lately because of their amazing volunteer efforts.

Unsung Heroes

These are the people who are the invisible engines that keep the wheels of CBHT turning. This certainly includes the presidents of Brotherhood and Sisterhood, the people who chair and sit on our committees, and our office volunteers (thank you Marty Mann, Toby Arbeiter and Stephanie Cooper!), but there are also those who take on the behind-the-scenes tasks that are essential to our smooth functioning, the ones we can count on to just keep showing up and doing their jobs.

Dottie Davis is one of those people. She has been tracking contributions to our capital campaign since its inception. Dottie acknowledges every contribution and produces statements and a campaign status report every month. Her work isn’t at all glamorous but it has been essential to the success of our campaign management, as it gives leadership an accurate and timely picture of where things stand and lets donors know that we appreciate their contributions. And that’s not all! She and her husband, Bob, also produce our directory. They take pictures, update information, and solicit ads–everything it takes to turn out a new directory every year. We are so grateful to Dottie for performing these jobs, month after month and year after year.

And, speaking of Bob Davis, I don’t think I could possibly list all of the things Bob does for CBHT. House Committee Chair doesn’t begin to describe what Bob does. Whether he is cleaning the HVAC vents or setting up a computer or editing our website or managing the audio-visual equipment all over the building, Bob is constantly ensuring that our systems are running smoothly.

There is no job too small or project too complicated for Bob to jump in. He is the backbone of our temple operations in many ways and he does it without any interest in the spotlight. We really can’t thank him enough.

Barbara Jaslow is another one of our unsung heroes. Barbara single-handedly puts out the Menorah every month. She solicits articles (patiently reminding contributors about deadlines!) and designs the layout of the entire newsletter. Every month! On time! It’s a huge project that is easy to take for granted and for which Barbara seeks no particular recognition. We all thank you for this amazing effort, Barbara.

Dionne Kempenich, for so many years, and now Channah VanRegenmorter, are the women who organize and carry much of the important work of the Caring Community Circle. We can count on the committee to support our members during illness or the death of a loved one, no matter when it happens. We are so fortunate to have them fulfill this role on behalf of all of us.

Identifying a Need and Filling It

Then there are the people who see a gap and take it upon themselves to fill it. They aren’t complaining about something, but instead, they are taking action to improve it. Over just the last couple of months, three groups who have embraced this role come to mind:

A group of people put their heads together to consider how they can help address our financial situation and have already pulled off two “Close the Gap” fundraising events. Cindy and Alan Feiler, Gaia and Damon Goldman, Josh and Elizabeth Bernstein, Alyse and Gerry Wolfson, Sabrina and Isaac Rockoff and Channah and Jessica VanRegenmorter contributed all of the food, wine, culinary expertise and kitchen labor to create the spectacular “Tradition! The Food of Our People” dinner event that attendees can’t stop talking about. It was a beautiful evening that raised significant funds for the temple. And, Cindy, Gaia and Channah came back together, with the help of vegetarian Chef Dava and Rabbi (prep chef extraordinaire) to stage a family Hanukkah dinner and dance party to raise additional funds. They all just stepped up and spent their time and money making these events happen, and we thank them for their amazing efforts.

Also stepping up to address a need, without fanfare, have been the members of the Security Committee. As Eric Naimark, Tom Hickey, David Seligman, Bob Davis, Raymond Capelouto, Stacy Cohen, Gaia Goldman, Larry Weiss and Tikkun Gottschalk are working to improve our culture of safety, many are also showing up for services and religious school to help provide additional security. They have been standing out in the rain and the cold to help ensure everyone’s safety. For this we are so grateful.

I’m also thinking about the board members who have recently stepped up to help out at onegs. Every week since Edward’s departure, two or three trustees have stuck around to clear dishes, pack up leftovers, and clean the tables and floor. All we had to do was ask, and we had plenty of willing volunteers who helped out our staff. Instead of complaining about the gap, they helped fill it. They also deserve our thanks.

I have no doubt that every one of these volunteers, and many more I haven’t mentioned, would tell you that they don’t need special thanks or recognition. They would say that they do what they do because they want to, that they get back even more than they give, and that they love our temple community. But I also have no doubt that I speak for all of us when I say we are so grateful and thankful for their support. Thank you volunteers!

My Best,
Karen

Karen Hyman, President,
Email: president@bethhatephila.org