Today is February 17, 2019 -
This time each year it is the responsibility of the President of the Congregation to deliver an address to report on the state of the Temple.
Congregation Temple Emanu-El is stable, our membership is growing, and under the leadership of our Rabbi Mark Fasman learning opportunities continue to attract and enrich the lives of all of us.
So what accomplishments can we share?
We celebrated many lifecycle events this year:
And this year marked the passing of beloved members including Sam and Bea, may their memories be blessed.
Last year at this time, Rabbi Fasman was still getting his bearings, familiarizing himself with the new space we prepared for him. Permit me to say it again, if not for the work of Hershel Rosenbaum, Marc Siegel, Barry Bernson, and John Duerson, Rabbi’s office and workspace would not have been completed … thank you to you all.
We kicked off this year with a new Board. Suzanne and John stepped down presenting the opportunity for new contributions from Larisa Fratkin, Daniel Farahi, and Madeline Burak. Suzanne’s years of service and dedication to our Temple have been remarkable, thank you. John, and Catherine, this Congregation is forever grateful for your leadership, your love of the Jewish people and your generosity.
So now it’s up to the new Board, and the new blood, to catalyze our work … together.
Working with me on our Board are Marty Ozer, Iris Frank, Nancy Morse, Marc Siegel, Alan Liebman, Marc Golberg, Michael Lampert, Merle Levy, Daniel Farahi and Larisa Fratkin. Thank you all for time, your talent and your energy. Our work touches vital areas of Temple life including financial stewardship, membership, and building maintenance, to name a few.
I mentioned financial stewardship – thank you Michael Lampert and Marc Golberg for your many years of devoted time and effort.
Under Alan Liebman’s lead, our membership has grown and continues to grow. Welcome all of you to our Congregation, to our family.
And we are particularly grateful to have someone such as Marc Siegel help us manage our building maintenance. By his hours and effort generously contributed, Marc has guided the process enabling us to begin to stabilize the mechanical systems – friends, we have HVAC units on the rooftop that in some cases are 30 years old and many lacking proper preventative maintenance – so we are getting control of this, and soon improving the lighting throughout.
And there is important work taking place in the Religious school – we are so fortunate to have Alice Fasman jump in and lead the instruction for our children. The religious school had seven children. This year is equally promising.
I believe many of you have noticed that our kitchen remains locked. Again, thank you Alice and others for taking control to ensure the adherence to kashrut.
Have you been to a Men’s Club event? Why yes, and that’s because Barry Bernson, Donne Levy, Edgar Roberts, and John Duerson have really done a remarkable job energizing the activity … thank you.
And where would we be without Robin Kazel. Robin has pretty much singlehandedly taken over Sisterhood and seen to it that this vitally important activity continues. Robin led the Passover Seder this year, on the first night of Passover we hosted nearly 90 people here at Temple. Wow!
Rabbi introduced music to accompany Friday Kabbalat services. Thanks to Heidi for your generous support of this effort. I look forward to many more of these.
There are many paths to participation in our Temple. We have several active committees. Mark Frank is chair of the Ritual Committee – we can all thank Mark for his work, among other things, planning and executing the organization of these High Holidays.
Thank you to our greeters and our ushers.
This year, again, we are so fortunate to have Raffi’s magnificent voice and spirit fill our souls. We have several people to thank for making this possible. Alan and Sue Leibman and Catherine and John Farahi … thank you for your generosity.
We have a Building Committee led by Marc Golberg. This is and will always be a busy responsibility. David Pierce leads Chessed. Thank you, David, for all you do.
Soon, the Nominating Committee will convene again. Nancy, Shari and Leslie will be looking for individuals willing and able to serve in open positions on our Board. I have mentioned Ritual, Building, and Chessed. We also have a Kitchen Committee, and we need to form Fundraising and Social Action Committees … but first we need you. We need your participation, your time, your talent, your energy, all of which go to strengthen our Congregation.
If I have omitted you in these acknowledgements, forgive me.
In truth, we are fortunate to have so many to thank.
Oh, before I forget, Harriet. Thank you for your energy, your commitment, and your service to Congregation Temple Emanu-El.
Volunteer engagement is a science. It is governed by the laws of social attraction. People with similar interests are drawn together, the cumulative effect of their energies work to attract other like-minded to participate.
Friends, our Reno Jewish community is probably not unlike so many other Jewish communities. It’s not like the old days, where generations of families lived, worked and built communities together. No. Rather, our roots do not run deep, our roots run wide, few of us have multi-generation family rooted in Reno. For me and Nancy, our family, once within easy driving distance in Great Neck, New York, is now spread across Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, Colorado and Nevada. The point is this, WE are family, and all of US contribute to make OUR family our community woven together in tradition, friendship, love and responsibility. And permit me to go further, this family characteristic that describes being Jewish in Reno is probably not new to Reno. As we approach Congregation Temple Emanu-El’s 100-year anniversary, think about the members and families that came before us, about their love of tradition, ritual, and family. Who is standing to say kaddish for them? I will tell you who, it needs to be us. Just as family members that precede us expect us to honor their memory in ritual – and just as this community, our community is our family – well then so should our practice include the honor and respect owed to those that worked, lived and sacrificed to build Congregation Temple Emanu-El and sustain it for 100 years.
A gut gebentsht yohr – A good and blessed year.
L’shanah tovah tikateiv v’techateim – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
Wishing you and your family a new year filled with sweetness and joy.