It is an honor to have been chosen to be our congregation’s president for the next two years. When Jan, Leah and I joined Beth El over twenty years ago we were welcomed with open arms and made to feel that we were a valued part of our community. This feeling has never left us, and I thank you all. I look forward to working with our incoming Board and Officers. Please feel free to get in touch with any of us; your input is important to us. The best way to reach me is by email at [email protected].
I would like to share the comments I made at the Annual Meeting in June. It wasn’t my favorite speech though. That one went “Thank you, and good night.” This one was slightly longer:
I have particularly enjoyed the last two years working with Andy Schaer, our outgoing president, and I’m eager to build on the foundation that he and our past presidents set over the years.
We have talented and enthusiastic officers and Board members, a warm and passionate membership, a hardworking and committed staff, and the best rabbis in town!
My goals for the next two years are more emotional than physical. I would like to see us become even more welcoming and inviting to all of our community. Our community is made up of Jews and Gentiles, straight and gay, men and women, adults and children.
The year 2017 will be our 100th birthday. What did we look like 100 years ago and what will we look like in another 100 years?
In 1917 we were immigrants and the children of immigrants, mostly from central and eastern Europe. We were making our way in this new world, trying to conserve what was important to us and at the same time, trying to progress. We were a new congregation trying to fit into suburban America before the suburbs were a thing.
Back then it was easy to feel part of this new shul in the South Hills. Its not as easy today. We’ve grown bigger and most of us, other than Sam Balk, can’t say that we know everyone.
We have opportunities that our great grandparents never imagined. Our children can go to any school. When they graduate they are not limited in where they can work.
There are no restrictions on where they can live, who they can befriend, and who they will embrace. In this era, religion and ethnicity do not create boundaries, rather they can spur relationships with everyone, anywhere, and at any time.
We have, in short, choice.
We want Beth El to continue to deserve to be an important choice for us, our children and our grandchildren over the next 100 years. And I thank you for putting your trust in the Board, the Executive Committee and me, as we head down that path together.
See you at shul!