This Fall has certainly been better that last Fall for Temple Israel. We are on the mend. No crises on the horizon. The financial news is good. We are not out of the woods yet; but our deficit has been reduced significantly and I am optimistic that with a few more generous donations and receipt of some outstanding dues, we will be close to where we need to be. We have had some delightful Friday evening services with enthusiastic participation from students in our Religious School. Last time I had to explain to them what kvelling meant (Rabbi had to help me). I told the children we were all kvelling from their recitation of the prayers, lighting of the Sabbath candles, and general participation in the service. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to worship along side our future members. This will only happen on select Friday evenings. You will be kvelling too. As you are reading this, Chanukah will have passed. I hope you were able to join us at the Gourmet Latke event and/or Share the Warmth, adding these Temple events to your personal celebrations. I would encourage you to participate in the new Shabbat Shiur program on Shabbat when there is no Torah study. We have enjoyed studying together and participating in Havdalah. I hope you will plan to join us in worship, study, or community events in the coming months. Looking forward to seeing you. Bonnie
Archives: TI President's Blogs
By tilondoncanada in
Another Temple year begins. We have many wonderful things happening for us.
We are basking in the glow of beautiful High Holy Days led by our own Rabbi Dressler. We have Linda Lowe in the office; are we lucky! We have had Daphne and her committee work their hearts out to ensure a wonderful anniversary celebration.
Sunday school and Hebrew school have begun with robust enrolment, enthusiastic teachers, and an enhanced curriculum. We have a new program of adult education on three Shabbat afternoons, beginning at 3:00 p.m. and ending with Havdalah. We still have an excellent, committed Board working hard and caring about the Temple.
We will still be having alternate Friday evening and Saturday morning Shabbat services. We are hoping that Friday evening with potluck “pre-neg” snacks will be a convenient time for our young families to bring their children to worship with our community.
Many people have raised their dues the requested/suggested 25%. I am extremely appreciative of those who have made that choice. I would still encourage members who have not done so and can, to reconsider their donation. Your increased dues at this point will ease the nature of our financial discussions on November 15. While we are probably in better financial shape than we were a year ago (we don’t have final numbers), I don’t think we are out of the proverbial woods yet.
Now a word about our Anniversary Celebration which was an outstanding success: the wonderful service, the dedication of the Ner Tamid by Ailene, Linda, and Wally, and the Torah covers dedicated by Thelma and David Rosner, Jill and Michael Simmons, and Stephen State, and the elegant kiddush sponsored by Stephen State and Sagi Yaakov, the warm greetings by the Mayor, the visit and the sermon by Austin Beutel, the presentation of the atarah by Michael and Sandra Fisman and Sharon Marks, the meaningful tribute to Rabbi Wittstein by Stephen, the beauty of our choir led by David Rosner and Michael Simmons, and then at night, the concert of Jews on Broadway arranged by Barbara Lent. It was a day we will all remember with great joy.
The occasion was real and meaningful to all of us. How fortunate we are to be members of a Jewish community that embraces and guides the present while connecting with history in the ancient past as well as inspiring the future.
It is with lay leaders like Daphne and her committee as well as a Rabbi that sets the tone and has the vision, that we are able to accomplish this. I am very proud.
We have many things to be thankful for. Hope to see you at services and, of course, at the Annual Meeting.
By tilondoncanada in
As I write this the summer is half over. We still have the lovely month of August stretching ahead and I am off to the Shaw Festival on the weekend for what I hope will be a wonderful week of theatre and relaxation.
Last evening we had an executive meeting with Ritual Chairman Josh Dubitsky as our guest because we are beginning to plan for the High Holy Days. We talked about our plans to give honours at services to those people who have contributed generously of both their time and money in this challenging year. We also had a preliminary discussion about beginning to implement a ticket policy for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
We, as the Executive and the Board of Temple Israel have worked very hard this year to regain a solid financial footing. Whether we ultimately will be successful still remains to be seen, but I am a perpetual optimist. We have cut expenses where we could, carefully watched our spending, and now we are looking at perhaps charging non-members to attend services on the High Holy Days in the future. While we will not charge anyone this year, it is our first attempt to work out a process that we can implement in the future and we hope all will be smooth. In any event, it will be something we can refine for next year.
I need to tell you yet again, how fortunate we are to have the Executive we do. At the meeting last night, Elizabeth, who has been working all week on curriculum with the Rabbi, went over the plans for the school in the Fall and for a series of adult education program led by Rabbi Dressler on Saturday afternoons. More about this later. Gail Bass gave us a preview of plans for tickets, Jim Stevens talked about his saving the railing on the side of the Temple with rust-proof paint, and dear Daphne give us a quick run through of
the structure of the special service we will have on October 17th, our Anniversary Weekend. Daryl Fridenberg went over the program plans for the Fall and the Executive made a few adjustments. There will be some changes to the preliminary schedule we sent out to you as we proceed. Consult the calendar, the website, or the Bulletin to confirm. Please note the reservation dates for Rosh Hashanah events in this Bulletin.
At the end of the meeting, Daphne reminded us to reach out to each other, to be inclusive and caring, and to remember that we are all part of a Temple community. There could be no better message for the New Year.
L’ Shanah Tovah
By tilondoncanada in
It has been quite the year, as you can imagine. I have enjoyed the challenge and struggled under the stress, and apprehension as we searched for answers to our financial issues.
One positive aspect of this year has been the wonderful people on the Board. It has been my privilege to work with them and with our Rabbi and office staff. We are indeed fortunate to have such a talented committed group working for the Temple. One note, Svetlana has decided not to return after her maternity leave, but to stay at home with her children. Her replacement, Linda Lowe, is an extremely overqualified individual who will be a tremendous asset to our Temple. We are very lucky to have her. We are also extremely fortunate to have three very special people volunteer to be part of our Board for the next two years. After congregational approval at the General Meeting, I will be extremely happy and grateful to have Terry Sicular, Ferne Kochberg, and Jason Mandlowitz join our working team.
We have accomplished a great deal this past year: digitalizing the school curriculum, fixing the floor in the sanctuary, planning for the Anniversary Year celebration on October 17, fine tuning our financial policy, writing a donation policy and beginning the work on a code of conduct and a safe school policy that meets provincial and synagogue standards. There is always much to do in the world of the Synagogue and I would imagine that next year we will be looking at ritual, Shabbat worship, and our holiday celebrations as well as fine tuning some of the policy decisions we have made this year.
As you, of course know, we are primarily a volunteer organization, so if any of you have available volunteer hours, please get in touch with me, Daryl Fridenberg, program, or Josh Dubitsky, ritual, and we will be happy to use your time and talents.
Thank you all for your magnificent support in helping us to meet our financial goal and to put our Temple on a firm footing. Now, because the challenge never ends, as I wrote you in the congregational letter, we need those of you who are financially able, to increase your dues to a level that will sustain us in the future, ongoing.
Thank you the opportunity you have given me this year to be involved in the world in a meaningful way. It is a privilege.
Have a restful summer,
By tilondoncanada in
This is a thank you letter to all of you.
I want to thank the members of the Finance Committee, led by Gail Bass, who have met once a week to hash out very complex issues with significant ramifications for the future of the Temple. They have reached far-reaching resolutions which will help to ensure the financial sustainability of the Temple. These resolutions include a long-overdue request for a significant increase in dues.
I want to thank Daryl Fridenberg, who has stepped up to give us caring and faithful leadership in programming for the Temple. Those of you who were at the Passover dinner saw how skillful she is.
I want to thank Jim Stevens, who is looking after our building in an efficient, thoughtful, and economical manner. We are very lucky to have him.
I want to thank Elizabeth Teevan, who brings her educational and computer expertise to her job as V.P. of Education. Thanks to her, our religious school curriculum is on-line, enabling our teachers to plan their lessons and access their resources remotely.
Ailene Wittstein does our pre-school. We value her time and energy and the commitment she has to reaching out to our families.
And Daphne! She has done everything and anything we have needed her to do, as V.P. Communications. Now she is chairing the Anniversary Committee. The committee needs to be thanked, as well, for the effort they have put in this past winter.
Barbara Lent, I thank, for her willingness to aid and assist me, especially in our time of crisis.
Our Webmaven, Linda Zimmerman! Thank you for the countless hours you continue to put in.
Thank you to Rael Wienburg for being our audio/video go-to man.
Sandra Benjamin organizes our Temple book club. Thank you, Sandra. Art Benjamin is just Art. Thank you for being Art.
Thank you, Lisa Manax, who organizes our library, keeps our display of reading material current, and delivers book talks to our Alef and Bet classes. How lucky we are to have a professional librarian
looking after us.
Wally has been a terrific past-president, always there and willing when I need him and never telling me when I make a mistake.
Lisa Faden and Nancy Davis have organized the Social Action Committee this year, highlighted by a marvelous Chanukah party
attended by 80 people.
The choir and Michael and David deserve many thank-yous, for the time they put in, their dedication, and the joy they bring to us.
I want to thank Jennifer for stepping up this year when we needed her help in the office. We are so lucky to have her. Similar thanks to Margie and Susan Dean for taking on a new challenge and making sure we could carry on while Svetlana is on maternity leave.
Thank you to Svetlana who has volunteered to help us with the bulletin this year while she is away.
Thank you again to Stephen State, Jeff Phillips, and Bob Solomon, who used their intelligence and professional acumen to support us through our financial crisis.
Thank you to Josh Dubitsky for his leadership of the ritual committee and commitment to the Temple.
Thank you to everyone who brings goodies for the pot luck kiddushim and dinners and those of you who have sponsored a Kiddush or oneg. They have been wonderful.
Thank you to Ira and Sergio for being there for us and for caring.
The Board deserves a thank you for supporting the Temple and advising its president.
Thank you to Yolanda Tomaszewski, Nancy Macdonald and Ferne Kochberg for taking care of the Temple gift shop.
Everyone serving on committees: Social Action, Ritual, Art, and Membership has earned our appreciation. The number of people we have had engaged in these activities, including Finance and the Board,
has made our Temple community hum with life and promise.
Thank you to Margie, Elizabeth, Nurit, the classroom teachers, and the Rabbi for a successful school year. Thanks also to Linda Dutsch for organizing a beautiful Teacher Appreciation Kabbalat Shabbat.
Sharon Marks deserves a thank you, too, for donating and cooking for Temple activities.
Thank you to Louise Shanfeld for writing notes for us and for just being Louise.
Heather organized the latke making this year. A big thank you to Heather. They were delicious. Thank you, as well, to Jacob, who inspired our Purim celebration and entertained us with his costume and jokes.
Stephen State is our man of the hour, doing whatever he can: teaching Hebrew to children and adults, singing in the choir, helping with the financial problems, washing dishes, and more than he is asked. Thank you, Stephen.
I have probably left out someone, please forgive me, but not you, Tom Casler, who donated a whack of wine for Passover and Shabbat.
Thank you to all of you who have generously come to the aid of a Temple in need in our financial crisis.
Most of all, thank you to our Rabbi who is there for us with compassion and empathy, who is our spiritual leader and our teacher. She is our blessing, as are all of you: the many people who have worked
together this year to make Temple Israel what it is.
Are we not blessed? All this giving, all these people involved with the Temple, and all of us receiving as much as we are giving.
Thank you all,
P.S. Please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone.
By tilondoncanada in
It Is the Only Way
It has been a demanding two months for me, the Executive, the Board, the Rabbi, and those who have sprung into action to help us out, Bob Solomon, Stephen State, Jeff Phillips, and of course our accountant Gerry Marcus and our bookkeeper Fay Edwards. I believe most of us have gone through those stages of shock, denial, anger, and acceptance that are characteristic of tragic situations.
When we come to acceptance, the question is where do we go from here? The answer is, and has always been for Jews: forward. As I see it, that is our only option. I would ask all of us to work toward moving beyond our feelings of betrayal, to how do we solve it. How do we make sure we continue to have a vibrant, stimulating, religious community?
These are questions that the Board, your Rabbi, the Finance Committee, our professionals, and you can answer. I can only ask for your support, in any way you can give it, and acceptance that forward is