PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – October 2018
Just before Kol Nidre services started last month, someone came to me with a bit of a concerned look. “I hope your Appeal tonight is positive” this person said. Apparently my August message came off a little dark and some were worried. That was actually my intent, to an extent. I needed to shake off come of the complacency here about our Temple’s future. On October 7, 1893, Chicago Evening Post journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne introduced his readers to the character of Mr. Dooley in a newspaper column. Mr. Dooley was a bartender and his satirical sayings were aimed at the politics and social issues of the day. One of Mr. Dooley’s most famous sayings is actually widely misquoted as “the job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” In August, I wanted to do a little afflicting to the comfortable of our family. Now I want to offer some comfort to those who may have been unnerved.
In my Kol Nidre Appeal, I told you that the family of our late friend George Davis had agreed to match our High Holiday pledges and gifts up to a total of $5,000.00. I am pleased to report to you that we did hit and exceed that target amount, which also represented an increase in pledges from 2017. Additionally, our ticket sales exceeded those of last year as well. We have not completely solved our financial problems, but we do now have some room to breathe and move forward.
We had a very successful High Holiday season, both in terms of finances and the services themselves.
What a joy it is not to have to move boxes of stuff to St. Jude’s and hang the curtain! What a joy it was not to have to take down the curtain and move everything back!
Our Sha-Na-Na Tova choir was extraordinary as was Robyn Kreisberg, who did double duty as cantorial soloist and choir director. Please see our individual acknowledgements of our choir members on Page 5. Our accompanist, David Goldstein, was superb as always – a consummate professional. We had two marvelous instrumental soloists – Marlene Dreyfuss on the mandolin for Kol Nidre, and Barbara Harmon, cellist on Yom Kippur Day. This talented and giving group of people provided us with a warm and spiritual musical experience for our worship, and Rabbi Mark, as always, wove scripture and our daily world in to meaningful and thought provoking teachings. High Holiday services at Temple Beth Emet draws us all in as a community. You really cannot sit in the sanctuary and not feel part of the service.
I would be remiss if I did not thank our Office Manager, Victoria Gaffney, for all the craziness she dealt with making sure congregants got their tickets on time, those joining us could buy their tickets, and everyone got pledge cards. Victoria was closely assisted by our Treasurer Eileen Martin, who sometimes had to act as “bad cop.” Thanks also to Craig Wiseman, our videographer and Amanda Goldstein, who took over when Craig could not be there, making sure our services were streamed on line. Finally, thanks to everyone who helped out, whether by ushering, setting up chairs, preparing books and placing them in the sanctuary, and of course, to our Sisterhood, who provided apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah.
Early this month, the Hebrew month of Cheshvan begins — the only month on the calendar without a holiday! I do not think this is any accident. After the High Holiday seasons that began on Selichot and end on Simcha Torah, clergy, congregants, and lay leadership all need a rest!
Religious school has been in session for several weeks now, and I want to acknowledge our new Religious School Parent’s Association President, Cherie Rye and the parents of the RSPA really hit the ground running this year. Already, class parents are lining up and a school Succah brunch planned for Sunday, September 30.
Finally, I want to acknowledge Barbara Lux. For many years she has edited our Chai Times as well as worked organizing and cataloging our library, scheduling the shoppers for our Oneg Shabbats, and frequently setting up the Onegs. Barbara is stepping back from those activities and I wanted to thank her greatly for her efforts. This is the last issue of the Chai Times to be produced under her editorship and we would welcome a volunteer to come forward to take over the task.
We are off to a great start to the year, and with everyone’s help and support, we can make our 60th year a very successful and special one.
— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President