on Tuesday, 03 December 2013.
Temple Israel's Board of Directors recently held a retreat. To enable the CCRJ facilitator from Toronto to get to know our congregation better, as well as to get us thinking about our congregation, we were asked to list some of Temple Israel's accomplishments during the past year or so. Within just a few minutes, each Board member took a turn, suggesting something to build this list. I thought I would share with you just about half of the comments to create a Top Ten List in this year-end, secularly speaking, President's Column - a kind of a year (and a bit) in review.
1. The renewal of wedding vows ceremony including people from the entire community joining to celebrate with our three couples;
2. The expansion of the children's library and the introduction of a library-time programme every other week for Religious School children, as well as the cataloguing of the almost 2,500 books for adults and children, making these books searchable from our web page;
3. The adult B'Not Mitzvah service (which moved the Board member mentioning this to tears);
4. The dedication of the Rabbi Joel and Ailene Wittstein Sanctuary;
5. Our new website with new and improved functionality including the ability to make online donations and sign up for dinners, etc.;
6. Several physical changes - the sun room, the rear deck, audio/visual equipment, sound system, and a new Ark and reading table with more related sanctuary items yet to come;
7. A significant increase in membership from 138 to 166 member "units" since Rabbi Dressler arrived, many of whom were formerly unaffiliated Jews or are "newly minted" Jews;
8. Education committees helping to create a vision for youth and adult learning;
9. A very large involvement in adult education including weekly Torah Study, Lunch & Learn, adult Hebrew classes, the Jewish Information Class (now called RJ101), JEM (Jewish Educational Manna,) etc.; and last but not least,
10. Jubilation: The Rabbi Joel Wittstein Memorial Concert with proceeds to Camp George Scholarships.
So, you can see that we are an active and growing congregation with new ideas and people to make things happen. We are also becoming more involved in the wider Jewish - and non-Jewish - communities and that, too, is a good sign. If you haven't yet been involved in some of these activities, please come out and see what you have been missing or call me and ask how you and your talents and interests can be put to use. If you have programming ideas, please contact our VP of Programming, Jacob Megdell. He would love to hear them and hopefully of your interest in helping in whatever ways work for you.
Linda and I hope you have been enjoying Chanukah 5774 and we also wish you a Happy and Healthy Secular New Year 2014.