From the President

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – October 2020

The middle of October this year brings the month of Heshvan on the Jewish calendar.  Heshvan is a remarkable month in that there are no holidays.  This is a welcome respite any year, coming after the crush of the High Holidays, beginning with Selichot, continuing with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, then Sukkot, and finally concluding with Simcha Torah, all within the course of about four weeks.

Over the years, we have gotten the High Holiday routine down pretty well.  Even when we were holding services at St. Jude’s and had to transform an Anglican sanctuary into a synagogue with all the books and furnishings, we had it down to a science, right down to the ropes and pulleys and curtain system.

This year we had to dispense with much of our usual preparations and, as Rabbi Mark remarked, “Boldly go where we never thought we would go.”  We started from, “How are we going to do this?”  We learned and experimented, worked and reworked, and figured it out.  What we never considered was, “Maybe we can’t do this.” 

Relying on the talents and creativity we already have, and building on our experience of several months of online Shabbat services via YouTube and Zoom, as well as our weekly Lunch With the Rabbi and religious school sessions, we were able to present a High Holiday experience to be proud of.  Our High Holiday services were beautiful, meaningful, spiritual, and retained the warmth and intimacy we so value at Temple Beth Emet. 

Kudos are due Rabbi Mark, Robyn, and the Temple Beth Emet La Sha Na Na Tova Choir, consisting of Barbara Harmon, Kathy Kreyns, Jeannie Mintz, Emily Mintz-Kreyns, Tanya Oldson, Warren Potter, Theida Salazar, Rabbi Mark Sobel, and Sarah Watnick, instrumental soloists Barbara Harmon and Frank Watnick, our videographer Miranda Goldstein, and our video editor and production manager David Goldstein. 

Kudos are also due our office manager Victoria Gaffney for coordinating “virtual ticket” sales and communicating with our extended Temple family and those of us handling production to make sure everything went smoothly and our congregants had the information necessary to access services.  I also need to make special mention of Rabbi Mark’s attention to those of our family without the means to access the video services, who were able to phone in to special Zoom sessions to listen to services.

Personally, I thank my wife Diane for her assistance in taping my Kol Nidre appeal and announcement segments, which were edited into the video services.

We are constantly reminded of why we call Temple Beth Emet the “Temple With a Heart.”  I think the work of those involved with producing and delivering our video High Holiday services showed a lot of heart, and judging from how these efforts were received by our Temple community, we all showed a lot of heart as well.

Thank you to all of our Temple Beth Emet Community.

— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President