Today is December 18, 2018 -

Board of Trustees President Jonathan Morse’s Annual Congregational Meeting Address

Here we are one year after accepting the position as your President.

Lets take a look back: We began the year with a disappointment. Our candidate for permanent Rabbi ended up withdrawing his application. Many of us were left wondering and doubting our judgment

So what does a nearly 100 year old synagogue made up of devoted membership do? They assemble, they collaborate, they succeed.

We can all be grateful for the volunteer spirit we practice. Thank you for the time and resources you all give to our Temple. Together, we enjoy Friday community potluck dinners, Shabbat Kiddush lunches, Yiddish club, SNUSY and Rosh Chodesh activities, Jewish History classes, and Bible Study Classes; and our lay leadership makes sure we have magnificent meaningful services every Friday evening and Saturday morning.

I will speak about the state of Temple Emanu-El from the ground up. Our building and  systems are strong. We needed to make a systematic change in our water system supply. Truckee Meadow Water Authority changed how it considered our account. There was a short period where our monthly system charges were in the hundreds of dollars. Steve Hirsch worked with several plumbing engineers to come up with an affordable solution to this. Harriet just shared our most recent bill, a more reasonable charge of approximately $48. Steve, thank you for taking ownership and solving this.

Our building is stable, our finances are strong, our membership is growing. We were saddened to see Noreen and Ed Levine move to Florida. Ed was a consistent contributor to our Board and led many Shabbat services. John Duerson relocated to St Louis to help his nephew. He too is missed for his Jewish history knowledge and ritual skills.

I formed a Ritual Committee to ensure (1) a rich and rewarding High Holiday experience, (2) so we would not miss a Shabbat service, and (3) to plant the seed to reveal new religious leaders to our congregation and renew our religious school. So first, we could not have been more fortunate to select Raffi and Gideon as our religious leaders for High Holidays.  I know everyone recognized the spirit and felt a deep connection to his workmanship. Mark Frank chairs this committee and together with his members has made certain we have leadership to run services every weekend. Lastly, thanks to the generous support from several of you, we have funding to bring new religious leaders to Reno. These new leaders bring new ritual experience and relieve our lay leaders. Soon, I will announce our plans to renew our religious school. I am in contact with several educators working to craft a curriculum appropriate for the age span of the families we will initially serve.

Iris Frank chairs our Rabbi Search Committee. We made a concerted effort to expand our horizons and use all forms of media and networks to reach potential candidates. Frankly, this is how we met Raffi. Hence, Iris and her committee have interviewed numerous candidates, one of which will soon visit Reno to meet us and see if there is a match.

Now, I want to ask you, how many of you have visited our website? Your participation in our multimedia presence is only possible by the extraordinary work of Merle Levy. Merle worked tirelessly with a representative from the USCJ to assemble content to populate the cells in the templates. I know all of us agree we now have a website we are proud of.

So where do we go from here?

I have secured our first engagement with Ronald McDonald House in Reno. I believe it is very important for us, for Temple Emanu-El to demonstrate our participation in our community. We will require 5 volunteers each month to prepare meals for the families that stay at Ronald McDonald House while their child is inpatient at the Hospital.

I have secured several speaking engagements that will be open to the community.  First, a retired law enforcement office will speak about personal protection, skills we can all use to protect ourselves, our families and our possessions. Next, I have an expert coming to speak about identity theft, a real threat we all face.

Sheldon Werber and Barry Bernson have organized a Jewish Film Festival to include all Reno congregations and our community. As always, watch for announcements of these events in our Temple Bulletin and on our website.

Thank you.