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Temple Beth El

Offering Conservative Jewish worship since 1935

83 Chestnut Street/POBox 383
Oneonta, NY 13820
Phone: (607) 432-5522

President’s Column — August 2017

It is time to begin thinking about a new year at Temple Beth El. At this time, we are planning the Holy Days and finalizing our calendar for the year.

In the past, we have always held our annual community meeting in late June or early July. This practice is not the norm in USCJ synagogues, so we are changing the schedule to conform with the practices of the Conservative movement. Beginning this year, our annual community meeting will be held in February. Our meeting agenda will be exactly the same and will include the vote for renewal of the Rabbi’s contract.

This year we will introduce a Rabbinic Review Committee (RRC) dedicated to creating a stronger partnership with Rabbi Karp. The committee will be comprised of five TBE members with the mutual goal of fostering and maintaining a climate where successes are celebrated, missteps identified, progress noted, priorities reviewed, and problems resolved, thus enabling the Rabbi and congregation to grow and develop together. The RRC will hold its first meeting in October, followed by three meetings with Rabbi Karp throughout the year. More information about the RRC will be published in the September Shofar.

At the community meeting, a number of members emphasized the need to identify potential new members. I shared with you that I am out of names. As a Board, we have emailed, called, invited, mailed letters, and pestered every Jew we know! I was told there are “more out there,” so I asked to receive names we can follow-up on. As of this moment, I have not received names from anyone. We all agree membership is critical to the present and future of our synagogue, but we need more Jewish people, and those Jewish people have to be willing to, at the very least, visit the synagogue. The best way to attract members is not a call from the president or a Board member, but for members to invite them to the synagogue. If you have a friend, neighbor, or colleague who is Jewish, invite her/him to join you for Shabbat or another event. And please share their names with me, as well.

In the coming year, I ask that you continue to make Chai to Life payments. An extra donation of $18.00 per month goes a long way when we pay the bills. If you are paying reduced temple dues, an increase of $18.00 month would be a very nice gesture. The purpose of Chai to Life is to enable money that would go to paying bills to enable us to have more weekends with our Rabbi. For those of us who are enthusiastic adult education students and/or attendees of erev Shabbat services (Friday night), Chai to Life ensures we can continue to enjoy these activities. A one-time payment of $216.00 ($18 x 12 months) is welcome at any time – or a larger amount. Please remember to make donations to the synagogue in honor/memory of loved ones and to use the Temple Beth El website to make purchases. Believe it or not, these are sources of income that are helpful.

As we enter Temple Beth El’s 82nd year, I thank you for your loyal support of the synagogue. While members of synagogues everywhere have varied opinions of their religious and lay leaders, the one thing we must remember is that affiliation supports our Jewish community. In order to remain a vital and valued part of the Oneonta community, your attendance and support is needed. Please join us for services and events in the synagogue.

I hope in our 82nd year we all will reflect on the value of Temple Beth El in central NY, and do everything possible to support and strengthen our synagogue family.