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Temple Beth El 97th Annual Meeting Minutes
March 27, 2011
21 Adar II 5771
- Call to Order
- In Memoriam
- Presentation of minutes of previous meeting
- President’s Report – Dr. Stuart Anfang
- Treasurer’s Report – Rick Ratner
- Committee Reports – on tables/ available in office
- Clergy Reports
- Old Business
- New Business
- Election of Officers and Board Members
- Good and Welfare
In Memoriam 2010-2011
Members who have passed away since our last Annual Meeting:
Edward “Jack” Gladstone
Ruth Eve Glazier
Albert A. Kohn
Dr. Raymond Licht
Dr. Robert Newman
Dr. Gerald Odentz
Sheldon R. Rappaport
Dr. Robert B. Resnick
Burton J. Weinbaum
These are my first annual meeting remarks—so I will start with some personal comments. I begin by offering thanks to my predecessor Jon Goldsmith, and by extension to his predecessors, the past presidents of both TBE and CBJ. As each day passes since I began as President in October, I have come to better appreciate all the work and energy they put in, and the myriad of issues that face today’s Temple Beth El. It has made me better appreciate the work of our volunteers, our hard working committee members and chairs, our Board members and officers --- who devote time, give up their evenings, take on responsibilities, and follow through on commitments. We do this not because of great honor or compensation --- -we do this because we hope to serve and better our congregation and our community. It has made me better appreciate the efforts of our Temple professionals and staff, who are dedicated to making our synagogue a successful, thriving place. I have noticed in our synagogue --- -and am first to admit I am guilty myself --- -that sometimes we can be quick to complain and critique. I hope we can become equally quick to compliment and commend. As we move forward and begin to implement some of the changes which emerged from the Community Conversations and the SP process, let’s also think about transforming our culture --- -to be more appreciative of each other, of our synagogue and our community, and perhaps most importantly, of the presence of God in our lives.
2010 was a year of change and challenges, and also of powerful progress in the life of TBE. Facing a daunting financial reality that threatens so many synagogues --- and so many Jewish community institutions, individuals, and families --- - we said goodbye to our full time Cantor, Hazzan Berke. As some of you may know, the Berke family is planning to move to Chicago in July, and we wish them the best future success. However difficult it has been to not have a full time cantor, I am pleased to report that music and spirited davening remains alive and well at TBE. Congregants have stepped up to the plate with Shabbat davening and lay chanting of Torah and Haftorah --- -more so than has been seen in many years. Many have commented how wonderful it is having a diversity of voices leading our services, making for rich and warm worship. We have continued (and actually increased) our special musical events --- Magavet in January, special services with Felicia Sloin, lively Simchat Torah and Purim evenings, and our very exciting upcoming Cantors Concert on Sunday June 12 with Alberto Mizrachi and TBE’s own Lizzie Shamash.
Finally, many of you had the opportunity to meet Cantor Elise Barber in February. Acting on the recommendations of the Ritual Committee and the Board, I am pleased to report that we have engaged Cantor Barber to serve TBE part time beginning in the fall. In addition to the High Holy Days, she will be with us for selected Shabbats and Chagim, will help tutor the B’nei Mitzvah and officiate at their Shabbat services, offer musical teaching for adults, and work closely with Rabbi Katz and Rev. Aminia. Cantor Barber has already impressed many of us with her talent, her knowledge, and her character. I want to be clear --- -we did not just hire a new Cantor of TBE. She will be with us only on a part time basis (approximately 1/3 time). Over the next year, drawing from the input of our SP process, we will be evaluating our longer term clergy needs and shaping a job description, process, and resources to meet those needs.
While I am on the topic of clergy and ritual life --- as reported in last month’s Tekiah, we are very pleased to renew Rabbi Katz’s contract for 5 more years, now through July 2016. Over the past 2 ½ years, Rabbi has brought great energy and skillful leadership to TBE and the wider Springfield Jewish community. We thank you Rabbi --- and look forward to working together in the exciting years ahead.
Acting on the recommendations of the ritual and cemetery committees, we are taking a fresh look at our policies regarding interfaith burial, last considered nearly 20 years ago. On Sunday mornings June 5 and 12, Rabbi Katz will be leading sessions exploring and discussing traditional sources about the burial of non-Jews in a Jewish cemetery. We will also learn more about how Conservative congregations throughout the country are dealing with this important question.
After several years of significant 6-figure annual deficits, we were able to finish 2010 better than our budgeted deficit, and nearly half our 2009 deficit. Full details will be explained by our Treasurer shortly, including our projected budget for 2011. Your Board is committed to achieve TBE’s long term financial stability, which necessarily requires both reduced expenses and increased revenue. Bear in mind that TBE provides appropriate dues reductions and abatements based on demonstrated financial need. Nearly half of our members (including many seniors on fixed incomes) receive some level of reduction from their full dues category. We are very proud that no one is turned away because of need!!! As a result, we must rely on the generous support of those members who are in a position to pay full or enhanced dues and make further donations. Our Centennial Campaign --- raising needed dollars to maintain our beautiful building, enhance our endowments and programs, and stabilize our current finances through debt reduction --- has surpassed $ 3 million in pledges from over 125 generous families and individuals. In these challenging economic times, this is a striking testament to our members’ love for our synagogue and their confidence in our bright future. In addition, nearly 40 individuals intend to leave a Legacy bequest to TBE in their wills --- -a powerful commitment for generations to come. If you have not yet made a Centennial Campaign pledge or Legacy bequest, please join us --- contact me or Rhoda Peskin for further information.
2010 saw the beginning of the Strategic Planning process --- our first in over 10 years. In the spring, we conducted a series of “Community Conversations,” receiving active input from more than 250 of our congregants. In September 2010, we released the summary report of the Community Conversation process, a thorough 18 page document. Participants envisioned multiple facets of an improved, more vibrant and successful TBE, building upon our strengths and challenges as we approach our second century. The report is available in the TBE Office, and by download from our website. If you haven’t already read this important document, please take a look!!
We then moved into Phase Two of the strategic planning process. Over the weekend of September 25-26, we were delighted to host as Scholar in Residence Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman,a charismatic national leader in synagogue transformation and strategic leadership. Nearly 300 attendees enjoyed several opportunities over the weekend to learn from--and be inspired by--Rabbi Hoffman. Rabbi Hoffman commented about the sense of energy, warmth, connection, and great potential he sees at TBE, and the powerful positive vision shared by clergy, staff, and lay leadership. He challenged us to imagine and create our great sacred community for the 21st century.
We then examined the ideas and comments from the Community Conversations, distilled into 3 main themes --- community, worship, and education. We created dedicated workgroups, open to all interested congregants, to turn each theme into a set of products, including prioritized goals, actions, timelines, and milestones to be achieved within the next 3-5 years. Bringing together the collective input of these workgroups meeting over the past several months, as well as perspectives obtained from other “transformed” religious organizations, we are now ready to create a practical and prioritized implementation plan, establish clear goals and allocate necessary resources and energy. Later this spring, we will present the recommendations to the Board for review and approval, and then share the results/action plan with the full congregation.
Finally, we will soon start developing plans for our 2013 Centennial celebration --- -a time to honor our proud past and embrace our exciting future. We have much to appreciate, much to be proud of --- -and also much work to do. Please join us and be part of creating a thriving Conservative Jewish presence in Springfield for the next century --- for ourselves, our children, and generations to come!
Dr. Stuart A. Anfang
Temple Beth El Architecture and Design Committee
Members: Susan Weiss Firestone, Howard Smithline co-chairs
Judd Peskin, Margie Berg, Susan Shaker, Jane Schulman, Donna Feldman, Mollie Plotkin, Dan Plotkin, Bill Firestone, Susan Halpern
Purpose: The purpose of the Architecture and Design Committee is to preserve the architectural integrity of Temple Beth El, while supporting the current and future needs of the congregation.
To accomplish this mission our tasks will include but not be limited to:
Establishing a process for approval of physical maintenance and upgrades
Establishing a facilities master plan
Educating ourselves and the congregation about our facility
Accomplishments this year:
Design installation and lighting of bronze plaque commemorating the TBE/CBJ merger
Completion of Tree of Life merger and expansion
Repair of chapel wood work
Replacement of sanctuary rear exit doors.
CBJ History display-all elements at Welch Design, awaiting design proposal
Cataloguing /Curating-ongoing project working toward TBE Centennial
Enlarging/Renovating small conference room-plans in progress
Comprehensive facilities plan aligned with strategic plan
Repair of outdoor brick work
If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact Susan Firestone or Howard Smithline.
Temple Beth El Membership Committee
The Membership Committee is being co-chaired by Tracy Goodman and Rhonda Goldberg with staff assistance by Rhoda Peskin. Those who have worked on the committee during the past year are: Sheldon Freedman, Susan Retchin, Irving Skerker, Allison Steinberg and Tatyana Kurbanov.
As we reported in last year’s annual report, we have spend a good deal of time keeping up to date on plans put in place two years ago relative to contacting potential members of the temple and providing a gift and handwritten note to new members. This past year, the supplier for our most attractive candlestick gift went out of business, but we were able to locate a new supplier.
In the past year, we reviewed and revised the materials sent out with the application packet for potential members. We also rewrote a letter from the Membership Committee and added a membership presence to our temple website.
We have been working with the “Try a Synagogue” Committee, a group of clergy and lay leaders of the three synagogues (TBE, Sinai and B’nai Torah) to attract and recruit the unaffiliated to our houses of worship. We have had representation at most of the “Try a Synagogue” committee meetings and have also had a presence at a number of the “Try a Synagogue” social events at neutral cites around the area as well as the Long Meddowe Days this past May.
Over the past couple of years, we have worked with a variety of different lists. This year, we entered all information regarding new members on a color-coded Excel spreadsheet maintained in the temple office. The list provides the names of all potential and new members, their contact information including e-mail, family data, how they joined (thru “Try a Synagogue” for example), and the status of our contact with them. This new database has allowed us the ease of having a central location for all new information.
This past year has been very busy relative to new members, in no small part thanks to the “Try a Synagogue” initiative. From September 2009 to the present, the temple has welcomed 25 full member households, 3 Associate Member households, and 25 households through the “Try a Synagogue” program.
We are again planning a New Member Shabbat scheduled for April 9, 2011. A “Save the Date” went out by e-mail in February and a formal invitation was mailed to all new members since April of 2009 this month (50+ invitations). We will look forward to welcoming all new members next month.
Temple Beth El Program Committee
Members: Meital Aloush, Reverend David Aminia, Yvonne Baevsky, Maxine Bernstein, Marge Block-Robinson, Andrea Brinnel (Co-Chair), Judy Cohen, Donna and Jon Fein, Rabbi Amy Katz, Norah and Craig Kazin, Rhoda Peskin, Michael Robinson, Eileen Rutman, Shari Schein, Ellen Smithline (Co-Chair)
Meetings: Meet on a monthly basis at Panera in East Longmeadow
7/24/10 2nd Annual Progressive Cocktail Event – host couples were Rabbi Amy and Ken Katz, Anne and Michael Chernick, Lisa and Brian Zippin. Thank you very much for opening your homes to TBE.
11/20/10 My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Home for the Holidays-City Stage. Show, Desserts and Drinks
5/27/10 Nechamen-Chernick Breakfast and Annual Meeting-honoring Norm Michaels and the TBE Cemetery Committee
TBA Yiddush Book Center Tour
The TBE Program Committee Members are always looking for volunteers. Please contact the shul if you are interested.
We would like to thank all of our members. The group has again made these meetings productive, fun and full of laughter (We are sure that Panera is thanking us for the lively discussions). We understand that you have taken time out of your busy lives to develop these programs and we appreciate it.
Andrea and Ellen
Temple Beth El Ritual Life Committee
The Ritual Life Committee has continued to discuss and review current practices and policies that are in place at TBE.
We used the new machzors which were favorably received by the congreation. The machzors were purchased through combined money of special book funds and contributions from our members.
Through the dedicated and persistent work of Ellen Elfman, Michelle Anfang, Adele Miller and Reverend Aminia the group of congregational daveners and torah readers has grown to include new people.
The Gabbaim group too has been expanded to include new participants from both the Ritual Committee and the greater congregation.
Special Family Services were offered during the High Holidays featuring Felicia Sloin. Felicia Sloin also was with us for Selichot and Simchat Torah where she was joined with her Klezmer group. Continued efforts are being made to offer a range of musical experiences that all our members enjoy.
Cantorial support coverage through the hiring of Elise Barber has been arranged for the coming year. This will assist the clergy in b'nai mitvah tutoring, leading of worship services during the B'nai mitvah season and certain Chagim. Elise Barber will also be with us for the High Holidays.
We are all looking forward to this.
Ellen S. Ratner
Temple Beth El Social Action Committee
“Got Talent”: we held a talent show at the JCC last spring to which seniors from the community were invited. Performers included members of all ages from TBE. It was held on a Sunday morning, breakfast was served and approximately 12 acts performed for a great audience turnout of approximately 75 people. Feedback was extremely positive.
Rays of Hope: last October we organized a TBE team and walked in this annual event to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. As always it was quite inspiring and team TBE was well represented.
After school supply drive: we held this drive in conjunction with the annual Chanukah event. A variety of supplies were collected including books, arts and crafts supplies, playground balls and indoor games. All items were delivered/donated to the Martin Luther King Center and Square One after school programs.
Loaves and Fishes: This is an ongoing program which began last fall. Each month TBE members have been signing up to volunteer at Loaves and Fishes, a food distribution center located in Springfield, MA. Approximately 5-8 volunteers have been serving lunch to the needy on a monthly basis in Springfield. We have had a strong response to this program and are looking into increasing volunteer opportunities there in the future.
Upcoming: Got Talent 2: Since the first Got Talent show was so well received, we will be holding the second one coming up this spring. This time around it will be held at the Jewish Nursing Home. More details to follow.
Alissa Korn and Liz Paleologopoulos
Women’s League of Temple Beth El
Women’s League of Temple Beth El continues to administer the Fannie Price Scholarship Fund, the Dr. Jacob and Ethel Tober Fund and the Karen Winer Convention Fund, as well as the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism Torah Fund, which supports a variety of programs at the Jewish Theological Seminary. We were pleased to send these Torah Fund monies to the Jewish Theological Seminary once again this year.
The WLof TBE calendar was once again sent as a gift to each household affiliated with Temple Beth El.
WL of TBE continues to support the SKLC. This year, the school requested and was given money to supplement the school Shavuot picnic.
WL of TBE was pleased again this year to hold the Women’s League Shabbat and provided a Kiddush luncheon after services. Our loving “Thank You” again this year for the invaluable assistance given us by the Reverend Aminia.
WL of TBE sent a voting delegate to the International Biennial Convention with the benefit of a grant from the Karen Winer Convention Fund. The convention was held in Baltimore in 2010 and will be held in the Las Vegas area in 2012. We encourage all members to consider attending as official delegates.
Candlesticks and Kiddush cups were provided to all B’nei Mitzvah with the funds raised from dues and advertising in the calendar. All of these items were designed and crafted in Israel by a leading artist, and the Women’s League Judaica Shop is delighted and proud to be able to stock these items on a regular basis for gift giving.
We would like to extend an invitation to all women in the congregation to join in our efforts to help provide for our Temple.
In August, we will be installing a special display in cooperation with the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework. The display, created by Pomegranate Guild members in Toronto is a series of hand crafted mezuzot and will be in the display case in the main hallway through October. There is a committee forming to host a crafting day in September to coincide with this exhibit. If you are interested in assisting with the planning, please contact Charlotte Meyer.
Loretta Barowsky, Barbara Yetwin Sanofsky,
Past Presidents, Women’s League of Temple Beth El
Sandi Kupperman Learning Center
The Sandi Kupperman Learning Center (SKLC) emphasizes education across the lifespan with programs involving:
High School and Young Adult
Activities and direction of the SKLC continue to be overseen by its board, which meets on a monthly basis.
Every Shabbat morning from 10:00-11:45am, for children 4 years old and younger we have a program of songs, stories, puppets and crafts. We are working to find ways to increase attendance.
There were 15 new students enrolled starting in September 2011. The current enrollment has:
Kindergarten, first and second grade (meet on Mondays and Shabbat): 11 students
Grades 3-7 (meet Mondays, Wednesday and Shabbat): 63 students
Individualized services have been made available for students with special learning needs.
The curriculum has emphasized a balance between mastering ritual skills (reading and prayer), understanding Torah, Israel and Gemilut Hasadim. Sixth and seventh grades have also participated in programs addressing Ethical Decision Making, Holocaust and Judaism & Aging. As students move from grade to grade, they develop greater and deeper insights through exposure to common experiences.
Over the past year, the SKLC Board has addressed several areas including school policies, teacher and student performance, fund-raising and budget review. As part of the synagogue’s strategic planning process, the SKLC board will also be mapping its goals for the future. The SKLC Board actively participated in creating the proposed budget prior to approval by the synagogue’s Board of Directors.
Recently, the board has requested clearer differentiation between those programs that are clearly related to the Learning Center and those that are a part of an overall synagogue experience. This has allowed a more accurate cost allocation process. Greater attention has been paid to tuition collection and next year’s school registration materials have been updated. We are exploring implementing the use of technology in the school.
GRADES K, 1 & 2 have a program on Shabbat mornings. They have a Shabbat service followed by activities such as music, dance, and storytelling.
GRADES 3-7: Junior Congregation meets every Shabbat morning from 10 – 11:00am. These services are led by Steve Weiner and Jennifer Belden. Some Shabbatot have chuggim (electives) offered after Junior Congregation. In anticipation of bar/bat mitzvah preparation, attendance is mandatory for 6th & 7th graders. Grades K-5 attendance is voluntary.
High School and Young Adult Programs
The current enrollment in the Hebrew high school (B’yahad) is 27 students. Programs have been carved out for specific grades or combinations (e.g. 10th, 11th & 12th are separate from 8th & 9th). Classes have met on Thursday evening from 6:30-8:30pm. Separate from B’yahad, there are youth group activities for grades 5 - 8 (Kadima) and 9-12 (USY). Both USY and Kadima members have attended local, regional and international events.
Melton Mini School - Melton classes meet on Monday mornings and Thursday evenings. This course is taught by Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz and Rabbi Devorah Jacobson.
Cuppa Joe – Meets every Sunday morning at 9:15am. The class, led by Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, considers the history of Jewish prayer, as well as how the traditional liturgy speak to us today.
Lunch & Learn – Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz leads this class every Wednesday from noon to 1:15pm. Participants bring a dairy lunch.
Florence Melton Foundations for Jewish Living – Classes meet on Sunday mornings at the JCC. Parents study with Rabbi Katz core values in Judaism and the master stories that reflect those values. This is an opportunity for parents to consider the ways that Jewish values can impact their home. While parents are studying with Rabbi Katz, children experience the best of Jewish music, art and the P.J Library.
The responses to these courses have been positive and very well attended.
Nominating Committee Report - 2011
Pursuant to the requirements of the Temple Beth El By-laws, the Nominating Committee presents its list for 2011, herewith, as follows:
|VICE PRESIDENTS:||STUART CHIPKIN|
|FINANCIAL SECRETARY:||DAVID RATNER|
|RECORDING SECRETARY:||MICHELE BOROWSKY|
|IMMEDATE PAST PRESIDENT:||JONATHAN GOLDSMITH|
|Jonathan R. Goldsmith, Chair
Ellen S. Ratner