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,
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Previous messages from the President
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, … Continue reading President’s Message – May 2019
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, … Continue reading President’s Message
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