President Edward Hershfield
This is an exciting time at Temple Israel. A time of change, but also a time of opportunity, and I am honored and thrilled to be able to participate in the continued growth of Temple Israel over the next two years as President of the Board of Trustees.
As is the case with many things, becoming a Temple president was not part of a life-long plan. Two things led me to this position: First, I have been fortunate to see the impact so many talented former presidents have had on our community since my wife, Kathy, and I joined Temple Israel over 20 years ago. Each man and woman brought unique abilities to the presidency and helped shape the future of our synagogue. Second, someone I greatly respect and admire, Arnie Freedman, asked me! Arnie made a compelling case for being involved, and so I decided to step up to the plate.
Arnie Freedman (President 2013-2015) delivered his last report at the annual Congregational Meeting on May 4, 2015. You can read a copy of his remarks here.
Since I had that conversation with Arnie, I have thought quite a bit about the focus of my presidency. As everyone knows, this is a remarkable, generational moment in the life of our synagogue. Rabbinic change occurs rarely, and I am thrilled to be welcoming and working with Rabbi Ron Fish. Together with Rabbi Fish, I want to dedicate the next two years to building on our existing strengths and making Temple Israel a more welcoming community — a place that seeks to engage us, a place that helps build relationships, and connect each of us to community and Judaism.
These ideas certainly did not originate with me. The writings of Dr. Ron Wolfson and others set out these concepts much more eloquently and compel us to examine the way in which we engage with potential members, how we welcome new members, and whether we are fostering the establishment of relationships and the building of a Jewish community. This examination is not simply a job for the Rabbi and President. Much of the direct and important interaction our synagogue has with people begins in our Temple committees, and these committees will need to focus on how we can be a more welcoming spiritual community.
I hope that many of you will want be a part of the continued growth of Temple Israel by "stepping up" your own involvement with our synagogue and joining a committee. Whether you are a long time committee member, a former "Temple worker" who would like to reconnect, or someone who has not been involved in committee work but is interested in "sticking a toe into the water," I invite you to send me a written note or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know of your interest. You can also access the list of Board of Trustees and committee chairs on our website. I will be meeting with the Vice Presidents and committee chairs to appoint committees over the next few weeks.
As I said above, this is an exciting time at Temple Israel. Rabbi Fish will be joining us on July 1 and leading services on many summer Shabbatot (Shabbats). The Rabbi Search Committee is now the Rabbi Transition Committee, and will be setting up various opportunities for congregants to meet Rabbi Fish throughout the summer. In addition to Rabbi Fish, we are fortunate to have Cantor Dress, Benjamin Maron, Alisa Levine, Lisa Kritz, Shosh Jacob, Janet Zucker, Marla Forman, Melissa North, Olavo Gomes, Charlie Frost, our Religious School and Hertz Nursery School teachers, and USY advisors , all of whom are professional, dedicated, hard-working, and will do whatever it takes for Temple Israel to prosper. The rest of our executive committee of the Board, Marion Gribetz, Ellen Silk, Beth Lappen, Ron Czik, Gary Perkins, Neal Aronson, and Stacey Chorney are talented, thoughtful, and passionate about Temple Israel. I am honored to work with all of our staff and lay leaders.
I hope that you will consider becoming more involved in the building of our community as we continue to grow.
Have a wonderful, safe, and fun summer!