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From Our President - 

Dear Congregation B’nai Shalom,

On Sunday mornings January 26, February 9, March 22, and May 3, our Congregation B’nai Shalom Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is hosting a little Morning Schmooze. These Schmooze gatherings are at 8:30 am, right when religious school begins. The PTO will provide coffee and bagels.
First, I would like to thank the PTO for organizing this. It is a simple way to bring our community together and build connections.

When Stacey and I joined B’nai Shalom about ten years ago, Sunday morning religious school ran in two sessions: 8:30–10:30 am and 10:45 am – 12:45 pm. For several reasons, we eventually consolidated to the single 8:30 am session. One thing we lost when we made that change to the program was Café Shalom. Café Shalom, for those who were not a part of the congregation or do not remember, was a light breakfast and coffee organized by Brotherhood every Sunday morning. Because religious school was only two hours long, people stuck around, ate, chatted, went for walks, met new people, or just sat in the lobby or library and worked. Changing the religious school schedule was the right thing to do; but with the longer session, it gave our families three hours rather than two. With the extra time, people no longer stayed to schmooze.

As part of the lay leadership team at Congregation B’nai Shalom, I am more often than not enthusiastic about our congregation and optimistic about the future of B’nai Shalom. There are also a number of things I worry about. Near the top of my worry list is the engagement and connection of our newer religious school-age families. My hope is that by scheduling these “Sunday morning Schmoozes,” we will start to see our hallway, tables, couches, and social hall fill up again. More importantly, that these casual gatherings help to build connections.

I would encourage you to mark the dates of January 26, February 9, March 22, and May 3 on your calendars to stay for coffee and a bagel. You don’t need to stay for the whole three hours or even the first thirty minutes. It is a beautiful thing when we gather as a community just for the sake of being a community and building connections.

The Schmooze is open to everyone in our community — not just those with children in our school.

I will close with two interesting facts:

  • 1. The temple has terrifically reliable, free, and fast internet. If you are one of those people who uses Sunday mornings to get a little work done, the foyer, social hall, and library are a nice change of scenery.
  • 2. In 2019, I had the opportunity to look at the original plans for the construction of the offices, lobby, upstairs religious school, sanctuary, and foyer.

These areas were a massive addition to the original building that consisted of the current social hall and the downstairs part of the religious school. The foyer was actually designed as a social gathering space, which is why it is so wide and open. Since I learned that, I have a whole new appreciation for that space and its use.

I hope to see you for Sunday Schmooze!
Rob Blumberg

Sun, February 16 2020 21 Sh'vat 5780