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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 — September 2018

Welcome back! Our summer hiatus has officially ended, and life has returned to our synagogue. Shabbat services, adult education, and potlucks have been held, plus, a Selichot service and BBQ in the park are coming. Please check the Shofar and watch for emails with more information.

As we begin a new year, we have changes at the Board of Trustees. After many years of serving as vice-president, Howie Gelbsman has shifted off the Board. Howie has been on the Board longer than anyone can remember (even Howie), and we are grateful for his service. He is fiercely proud and protective of our little Jewish community and he demonstrates his love through years of support, sometimes public, sometimes behind-the-scenes – and always through food. He’ll be feeding us again at the Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast Dinner. Thank you, Howie. Stephanie Bauer, a veteran Board member, is now vice-president and serving as chair of the Rabbinic Review Committee as well as being instrumental in our thriving Women’s Club. New to the Board is Jessica Wintringham, an engaged member who is the mother of two of our religious school students, Fiona and Sam. We are excited to announce Jessica will be leading Junior Congregation services for children on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Phyllis Sherman has joined the Board and is active in many areas of synagogue life. She will be managing the Welcome Back BBQ in Wilber Park. Bob Garfield, one of our religious school teachers, resigned from the Board. We appreciate Bob’s insights and contributions, but look forward to seeing him around the synagogue and especially at Israeli films, which he makes possible. Finally, thank you to all the members of the Board. One would think it is easy managing such a small synagogue, but it isn’t. Our Board members are: Hollie Jaffe (interfaith liaison and religious school teacher), Steve Feuer (Men’s Club and cemetery director), Irene Weinberg (secretary), Rick Weinberg (building and grounds), Anne Green (treasurer), Sue Carbone (Shofar editor), Deb Marcus (social action committee), Stephanie Bauer (Women’s Club and vice-president), Phyllis Sherman, and Jessica Wintringham.

While our membership is steady (in the low 60s), we always want to be welcoming to unaffiliated Jewish people. Please invite your Jewish friends, colleagues, and neighbors to a Shabbat service, potluck, movie night, Women’s or Men’s club meal or any other event. This spring, Temple Beth El sponsored an Interfaith program titled “A Season of Faith and Understanding” which welcomed the community into houses of worship of many religions. We even hosted a closing discussion in our social hall as an ending to the program. It was a great success. If you have ideas that you can help implement, please let me know.  If you like to help rather than share ideas, we need you. Host the November oneg or lead the Simchat Torah celebration.

Please save the date: October 19 is the National Refugee Shabbat, the date chosen by United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), and many other Jewish denominations and organizations to focus attention on the refugee crisis in America. Temple Beth El is sponsoring a community interfaith event that will be open to the public. There will be guest speakers, Shabbat prayers, Jewish readings, and music. Mayor Gary Herzig will be one of the guest speakers, as will Dr. Brett Heindl (political science professor, immigration expert, husband of Jessica Wintringham, and dad to Fiona and Sam). Please show your support for humanitarian immigration policies and Jewish values by attending this event.

Want to help Temple Beth El? Use the Amazon link on our website when you are shopping. We earn 5% from every purchase and it adds up! Also, please make a monthly $18.00 contribution to our Chai to Life campaign. These donations are very helpful, especially now as we are repairing our roof.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are coming, and we will have a very special cantorial soloist joining us. I hope you will attend.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish you a happy, healthy 5779.