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From Our President - An Appeal to our Community

It’s been my pleasure to meet many of you over the years. For those I haven’t yet met I’d like to share a little bit about myself.
I grew up in a household with a Chanukah menorah and Christmas tree. Both my parents are Jewish, but we were pretty secular and were not affiliated with a temple.

At ten, I went to a Jewish overnight camp, Camp Naticook, and that changed the course of my Jewish journey. There I met my future wife, Sharon Brown, one of our cantorial soloists. (She was Dorothy and I was a Munchkin.). Lisa Marcus, our other cantorial soloist, was there as well, so this isn’t the first Jewish community the three of us have shared.

Sharon and I re-connected in 1989, got married, and in 2004 joined Congregation B’nai Shalom. I’ve served on the board of directors since 2009. Our children, Evan and Kaila, attended school here. Sharon’s mother, Abby Brown, served as the Education Director for thirteen years.
Over the years, this community has been with us to celebrate simchas — and to help us through times of loss. Being a part of this community and its leadership has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life.

Today, I’m honored to be president of our Congregation.

Congregation B’nai Shalom is fortunate to have smart, caring, and knowledgeable leaders in Rabbi Gurevitz and Rabbi Eiduson, a capable and dedicated Executive Director in Steve Winer, and inspiring Youth and Family Educators Debbi Morin and Cheryl Pouliot. We are strong because of their leadership, and they will be there to help us and our children return to a sense of normalcy.

We are fortunate to have a hard-working board of directors who provide their time and energy to oversee the wellbeing of our congregation. We are strong because of their commitment, and they will help guide the temple until we return to calmer waters.

We are fortunate to be able to draw on the talents of so many of you. During this pandemic, you have stepped forward to look after each other and to help guide us in our planning. You have enabled us to respond to the challenges at hand, sharing your knowledge of medicine, law, social work, education, facilities, technology, communications, and so much more. We are stronger because of you — our congregants, our friends, our community. Together, we will return — to our sanctuary, to our classrooms, to our lives as we knew them.

For most of us, this is a year like no other in our lifetime. The leaders and volunteers of Congregation B’nai Shalom have worked hard to understand your needs and find ways to meet them. From the sudden lockdown and quick establishment of the initial online school, digital Shabbat services, and shiva minyans, to the creative ways we have found to keep a sense of community and social engagement with movie groups, trivia nights, Brotherhood online, and Torah study, to the detailed planning and implementation of online B’nei Mitzvah, Shabbat in the Lot, re-opening school for this year, the High Holy Day gift bags you all received, and these High Holy Day observances.

These re-imaginings have allowed us to continue as a community in a world with COVID-19.

We have an amazing finance team who produce a budget that is normally predictable from year-to-year — but not this year. A few expenses are down, others are up. Our operating budget comes from tuition, dues, donations, and facility rentals. We are not renting out the building. We cancelled our major fundraising event. There are no High Holy Day seating cards for guests. Those three items alone represent more than $80,000 in lost operating budget. This year, like last year, our budgeted High Holy Day appeal goal is to raise $30,000. And if we can over-achieve this number, it will start to close that gap in our budget. So this year, on behalf of your community, I am asking for your help. To everyone who is able, please give what you can.

We know this is a time of uncertainty. We know people are struggling. We are here for you if you need help. But we can only be here, if you are here for us. So, please, go to https://www.cbnaishalom.org/appeal.html and help to sustain your community.

Thank you.
Shanah tovah.
Steven Goldstein

Wed, October 21 2020 3 Cheshvan 5781