Well, this is my final President’s column and now is the time to thank people who have made the past two years (“less a day”) go as well as they have. As I said in my AGM report to the congregation, any successful organization depends on “we” and not “I” as the operative pronoun. I could not have accomplished what I did, or rather, the Temple would not have accomplished what WE/IT did, without lots of support. First and foremost I want to thank Rabbi Dressler. She is a most unusual rabbi and I mean that in a good way! Not only does she have the education and knowledge required of a modern rabbi, she has a business background that makes her invaluable when it comes to budgeting, creating spreadsheets, and managing people. She also, by happenstance, has had to become an expert on type 1 diabetes and an expert in how our Canadian healthcare system works. Her teaching skills and her public speaking skills are also first rate and she has a real sense of justice, spending time, sometimes her own time, on social justice projects and interfaith relations. Without her guidance, the past two years would not have been as easy, as successful, or as pleasant for me. Todah rabba, Rabbi.

Second on my list of people to thank is my Immediate Past President, Len Silverstein. Len is a real go-getter and one of the most organized people I have ever known. He has stepped in wherever and whenever needed, especially in informally serving as our VP-Operations in the absence of an elected one and in thinking up and accomplishing useful projects (think sun porch, rear deck, our new ark and reading table, our sound system and AV equipment, our kitchen renovations, and so much more.) Oh, yes, and in raising funds to pay for these things, too! I can only hope I will be half as useful to my successor in these ways or others. Thanks so much, Len, for all your help.

Leeat Cribbs, our VP-Finance and Treasurer, comes to mind next. Leeat has kept our books balanced, not just in making sure we raised as much as we spent but also in seeing that we organized our spending records in ways that allowed us to plan our activities in cost-effective ways. Leeat also took on the unenviable task of following up on unpaid dues accounts and was able to see that if we were facing a shortfall, we found other sources of money, even including the City of London! An apple for this teacher!

Susan Dean, our outgoing (in both senses of the word) VP-Communications is next on my list. Whenever I share with her something I have written, she always finds ways to improve it and often within minutes. Susan has also done, and will continue to do, a magnificent job as our Membership Chairperson. And her minute taking at meetings has been superb as well. All that, and a friendly face, too. Thanks, Susan. We will miss you around the Board table but we know we will keep on seeing you at Temple Israel. 

What can you say about Jacob Megdell, our VP-Programming? I think he holds the record for most kilometers driven on behalf of our shul as he drives to and from Petrolia several times a week (or more) for services, meetings, and who knows what else. His good humour (I hope you didn’t miss his comedy routine at the Beit Café in June) is infectious and he always comes up with good ideas. I’m glad you are remaining on the Executive and the Board, Jacob!

Speaking of the Board, all of the other members of the Board deserve the thanks of all of us for the time, effort, and skills they provide on behalf of Temple Israel. I appreciate your service and am so glad that many of you are “moving up” to serve on our Executive.

In addition to elected Board members, we are also well served by a number of committee chairpersons and I won’t go through all the names as it would create a paper shortage if I did. Please accept my sincere thanks for all your work in areas such as the library, social action, bikkur cholim, the ark project, the kitchen renovation, the choir, and the list certainly goes on and on. Your work on behalf of all of us is very much appreciated.

I also want to thank our office staff – Svetlana, Jennifer, and Elena – for all that you have done and do to keep me sane (at least I hope I’m sane!) We would not be the same without your efforts in so many ways and your sunny dispositions help, too.

Margie and Rael, Sergio and Ira, AlIison and Alisha, David and Michael, Fay – we also can’t do it without you and the fact that I can refer to you by first names only (kind of like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Cher) shows what an impact you have on our Temple Israel family. Thank you, thank you.

I also want to thank all of our members who make this such a wonderful congregation to serve. Without you, there would be no Temple Israel. Please share your love for our friendly family with your friends who might be interested in joining is. Contact Susan Dean for more info.

Finally, I wish to thank my bride of almost 46 years and our Webmaven. Linda not only keeps us all well-informed via our amazing web site, she is so dedicated to what she does that she insists on making same-day updates to our web page, even when we are travelling. But of course, her greatest impact on me is her encouragement, her kind criticism (only when warranted, of course!) and her love. Thank you so much, Linda!

Let me end by saying that it has been a privilege serving as your President for the past two years. Please show our new President, Bonnie Teevan, and the rest of our Board your appreciation for their volunteerism and support them in any ways you can. Have a safe, healthy, and happy summer.