As I reflect on my first year as President of the Board, I will admit that I am not the same President now as I was in the beginning. I have tried to be a facilitator of change and growth to build a stronger and sustainable future for Beth Ami.

As part of the Board goals we established last year, we created a committee to evaluate the Friday night Shabbat activities to increase participation. The Guess Who’s Coming to Shabbat program was launched and we just had another successful gathering on September 11th. Everyone who has either hosted or attended a dinner has enthusiastically raved about their experiences in sharing Shabbat in a meaningful way with new and old friends.

Part of building community also involves building leadership. I was blessed to attend training in L.A. called Sulam for Emerging Leaders. Just as the name suggests, Sulam, or ladder, for Emerging Leaders helps develop up and coming leaders so that they can move up the next rung of the ladder towards leadership roles in our community. We are blessed that one of the participants of Sulam, Anya Concoff Por, jumped right in and is now using her leadership skills as our new Director of Youth Education. In addition to restructuring the Religious School schedule to include a Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service and creating a fresh curriculum, she is working with Jenny Levine, Director of the Nursery School, to connect nursery school families to Beth Ami through Beth Ami and You. Anya is also overseeing Rock’n Shabbat, USY and the post B’Nai mitzvah program. Needless to say she has a full plate but her vision for youth programing and enthusiasm for Judaism are propelling her forward and I am excited to see our youth education programs continuing to grow and change.

As I mentioned earlier, we have made significant steps towards a stronger and more sustainable future for Beth Ami both by building leadership and community, as well as financially.

Leading Beth Ami as President for the past year and continuing for the next two years would not be possible without all the love and support of my husband, Abe and two sons, Nick and Ben. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to them for sharing our family time with Beth Ami, so that I can take on leadership responsibilities. I truly feel blessed that I can serve our community in this capacity. I would also like to thank our dedicated and hardworking Board members for their commitment to our congregation.

Without a strong Board, who volunteer on so many levels, we would not be the thriving and engaging congregation we are so blessed to be. I would also like recognize the numerous volunteers who contribute their time and energy as committee chairs, committee members and helpers at the many events and activities hosted by Beth Ami. I am thankful for Rabbi Mordecai’s spiritual guidance and patience with me while I develop my role as President. I would also like to thank Carolyn Metz for her service as Executive Director and wish her the best in her retirement starting in January 2016.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a question, how will you be a positive force in leading a campaign of change in our kehilla? How can you help create a guiding coalition that will make this year one of newness and renewal for our community?