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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 Message — July 2021

The weather has been wonderful. Our services are being held again in person. We are continuing to offer Zoom services to see if that encourages more participation. Our lay led services have been well attended on Friday evenings. Barbara Roberts, Hollie Jaffe, and Aaron Harrison all did a wonderful job of leading us in prayers and giving us something to think about with their divrei torah messages. If you see them around town, please thank them for guiding us during May and June. Interestingly, they all chose to speak about the topic of generosity, kindness, gratitude, and how to live your life wisely.

The Trustees are in the process of finding a new rabbi to lead our congregation. We have had conversations with the Jewish Theological Seminary about hosting a rabbinic intern for the next two years. We are interviewing each other to see if our congregation is a good fit for her and if she is a good fit for us. I am optimistic that we will have a new rabbi in place for the High Holy Days in September.

This year the Holy Days are early. Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of September 6. We plan to have erev Rosh Hashanah services the evening of September 6 and Rosh Hashanah services on September 7.  The rest of the schedule will be included in the late summer Shofar.

At the June 6 Community Meeting the congregation voted to install Stephanie Bauer as President, Phyllis Sherman as Vice President, Hollie Jaffe as Secretary, and Anne Green as Treasurer. We are welcoming Hollie back to the board as we say goodbye to Sue Carbone. Many thanks to both women for volunteering to serve as Officers of the Board of Trustees.

Ron Feldstein replaces Ken Sider as a Past President. We all know Ken has served for many years. He led our congregation through two rabbi searches and championed the idea of Interfaith cooperation with many visits to other churches and mosques in our community. You might not know that Ron served as President in the past and has cheerfully returned to add his knowledge and perspective to our meetings. Rich Sternberg’s and Jessica Wintringham’s terms of office for Trustee were up. Rich agreed to run for a board position for which we are very grateful. Jessica goes off the board to focus her attention on her son Sam’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah studies. Lois Chernin agreed to run for the board position vacated by Jessica.  Both were elected.  The list of board members can be found on the last page of the Shofar.

We thank all these volunteers, those who have served in the past and those beginning a new term in office. Without the dedication and work these generous people give to Temple Beth El, we would not exist. Serving on the Board of Trustees or as an Officer is not an onerous task. We actually enjoy the meetings and over time develop a camaraderie and relationship based on solving problems and completing projects together. Many thanks to all our volunteers. 

You should have received your yearly dues notice and letter. Please help keep us financially stable by paying early and please give more if you can. The past year we were in the red and our savings account cannot help us forever. If you want a Jewish presence in the Oneonta area, you must begin to support us through your participation and financial contributions. Please be generous.

I am so optimistic for our congregation going forward. We are a wonderful group of people who share prayer, learning, and interests. Hopefully, we will welcome you back to TBE in September with open arms and no need for a mask or distancing.

We hope you can join us for our Community Picnic on July 25th.

Enjoy your summer. See you in the fall.