Jun 2016 The Arc – (Berland)
As my term as President of TBT draws to a close, I want to thank everyone who has helped make the role so rewarding and fulfilling. The list is long, starting with our Rabbi Emeritus, Dr. Marc Gellman, who has been an extraordinary friend, mentor and spiritual guide throughout my term; Senior Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz, whose warmth, intelligence, insightfulness and friendship, and ability to connect with everyone, have made the job a pleasure; Rabbi Rachel Wiesenberg, a brilliant educator, Rabbi and role model to our young people; Cantor Sarene Appelbaum, whose beautiful and inspiring voice, amazing musicianship and ebullient spirit, combined with her depth of knowledge, unparalleled teaching skills and sincere caring make her a unique and uplifting treasure to our Congregation; Jen Fusco, the Director of our David Joshua Berg Nursery School, who has with her skill, intelligence and openness breathed renewed life and joy into our nursery school program; Dr. Joseph Grafeo, our virtuoso Music Director, who, in concert with Cantor Appelbaum, keeps everything we do in the sanctuary at a level of musical perfection; Dr. Jodi Mishkin-Michaelson, our incomparable Director of Youth Engagement and technology wizard extraordinaire; our multi-talented and versatile Office Manager, Kathy George, who, among so many other things –and so capably abetted by Robin Farbman and Patti LaSorsa – keeps our fiscal and administrative ship on an even keel (and always does it with a smile); Rick Kudlik, our Chief of Maintenance, and his crew –Lenny, Uri and Danny – who day in and day out keep all the physical parts moving smoothly; our Religious School Administrator, Ronnie Wolff, who somehow makes the complicated logistics of our religious education program seem simple; Hilarie Carrieri, our new, but already indispensable, pre-school assistant; our faculty; our officers, trustees, sisterhood and Brotherhood leaders, committee chairs and committee members; our Youth Group and JTV leaders and participants; and our many, many volunteers, from every segment and every age group of our Temple community. And our members, without whom none of this would be possible. And, of course, my wife, Susan, who has been there for me always, and our children – Stephanie, Alex, Sky and Grant – who have been more than tolerant of the demands I have made upon them these past two years and who have always pitched in whenever I’ve asked.
It has been a privilege to serve the Congregation in this period of continuity, transformation and growth. Together, we’ve made the transition successfully, keeping old traditions and making new ones, honoring those who had the vision, energy and determination to build this place, this house of worship and learning, and to sustain it for all these years, even as we embrace new generations of congregants, leaders and clergy, all seamlessly. Our Congregation is truly a family, and like a family, we’ve grown from generation to generation –l’dor v’dor –respecting those who came before even as we give way to those who succeed us. From maturity and wisdom and experience to youthful energy and initiative and new vision.
Have there been challenges along the way? Absolutely. Yet working together, we’ve met them. It’s no coincidence that we’re growing and prospering. It’s because of the diligence, vision and sacrifices –of time, energy and, yes, money –the intensity of effort and the caring of so many that we are where we are. None of this has happened over night. It’s the result of years and years of hard work and commitment. And, as much as anything, love and inspiration.
The results are clear, not just in the physical side of things –shortly, you’ll see a new awning and upgraded entryway, and other physical improvements (and many infrastructure fixes and upgrades that are just as significant even if not so visible) – but, more importantly, in the functional life of our Congregation –more, and more meaningful, engagement and involvement for every age group and across the spectrum of what we do –worship, learn, celebrate, reach out, give back, and grow. Again, thank you for affording me the privilege of serving you and of being your partner in so many good and worthy things.