I am honored to represent our community as President of the Board of Directors and want to take a moment to thank our Board members and staff for helping me transition into my new position. I truly could not have stepped into the presidency without all of the support and knowledge of our experienced Board, staff and Rabbi Miller. The next time you see one of our Board members or office staff, please take a moment to thank them for their dedication and commitment to our community by attending to not only all of the daily duties but also the vision that supports the future of Beth Ami.
Thank you, Myrna Morse, Russ Gurevitch, Mel Decker, Barbara Tomin, Betty Boyd, Barbara McGee, Arnold Drake, Alan Krubiner, Lyla Nathan, Leanne Schy, Jeffrey Scheff, Carolyn Metz, Jennifer Levine-Smith, Pnina Loeb, Bonnie Boren, Diane Lennox, Elizabeth Jarlsberg, Andrea Nett and Rabbi Miller for contributing and enriching our Jewish community.
I had the privilege of attending United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s (USCJ) Sulam for Emerging Leaders (SEL) on Dec. 2 in Los Angeles. Rabbis and lay leaders from synagogues from all of California met and shared experiences that shaped our Jewish identity. As we delved into our experiences and how these experiences influence our involvement in our community now, we explored curricula that will be facilitated by Rabbis and lay leaders working together, building on each other’s perspectives, passions and gifts. Sulam means ladder and is a program to help synagogues develop and maintain leadership. It is a 6 month program that invites members between age 35-45 to engage with Rabbi and myself on a journey of studying text, developing relationships and sharing Shabbat with fellow members of the cohort. USCJ provides us with materials that will help us have meaningful conversations, share our stories and enrich our lives. Rabbi Miller and I will work together to present a dynamic and energizing curriculum that will allow us all to share our stories and make connections not only with each other but with the community. The goal of SEL is to demonstrate how traditional texts and rituals combined with contemporary issues and leaderships practices can provide a recipe for meaningful Jewish living and leading. Rabbi Miller and I will be inviting emerging leaders and members of Beth Ami between age 35-45 to join us to engage with our community on a whole new level. We will be identifying and contacting members who fit the parameters to initiate this exciting program and look forward to building our leadership together.
My gratitude to the Friedman Center Endowment Fund for providing funding to bridge the gap to enable us to offer Rabbi Mordecai a full time position retroactively to June 2014 and for the next 3 years is immeasurable. It is my pleasure to announce that Rabbi Miller will continue as our spiritual leader and teacher through June of 2018. Mazel tov, Rabbi Mordecai! We are honored and grateful that you have found your home at Congregation Beth Ami and will continue to guide us as our Rabbi.
Lastly, Abe and I are honored to invite the community to join our family for the Simcha for our son Binyamin Michael, as he is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah on 2 Adar, 5775. I would not have guessed on Aug. 17, 2013 at Nick’s Bar Mitzvah that I would be president at my younger son Ben’s Bar Mitzvah on Feb. 21, 2015! Balancing family life with working full time, serving as president and preparing for a Bar Mitzvah has given a whole meaning to organizational skills and the art of accepting help from friends and family. Thank you to the many friends and family who have already sent offers of help with the preparations for our son’s Simcha. It truly takes a village to raise a child and we are excited and proud of Ben’s hard work in preparation for his journey to Jewish adulthood. We look forward sharing Ben’s Simcha with all of you!