By Vic Vercammen
Don’t forget to join all of us Sunday, June 5th at 10 a.m. at BHT for the Beth Hillel Temple Annual Meeting! This is an exciting time for our community, and I encourage everyone to come hear about our present accomplishments, and more importantly our path to the future. Also soon, a letter will go out to the congregation, informing everyone about Rabbi Feingold’s upcoming Sabbatical. The Sabbatical will take place from October 25, 2016 to January 24, 2017 and from June 1, 2017 to August 31, 2017. As discussed in my letter, the purpose of a Sabbatical is for self-renewal, enabling a rabbi to better serve the congregation when s/he returns. Rabbi Feingold will be taking classes, attending conferences and seminars and engaging in self-directed study during her Sabbatical. In the publication The Guidelines for Rabbinical-Congregational Relationships it is recommended that a rabbi receive a 6-month Sabbatical every seventh year. Rabbi Feingold’s last Sabbatical, which was also taken in two three-month segments, began in November of 2009.
In order to minimize disruption to the congregation, Rabbi has been working with the Sabbatical Planning Committee, and other Temple Committees to cover BHT needs. In addition to scheduling her upcoming Sabbatical in two three-month segments, one half of the Sabbatical will occur during the summer months, when activity at the Temple is less. Rabbi’s careful planning, the activities of the various Committees as well as the strong support of our entire BHT community should help to make her absence more manageable.
Past experience shows that Rabbi Feingold’s Sabbaticals have proven helpful to the congregation in building its lay leadership strength. I trust that the upcoming Sabbatical will likewise improve Beth Hillel and reinvigorate Rabbi Feingold as she begins her thirty-second year of service to our congregation this August.
For those that were not able to join our community on Sunday, March 20, commemorating our 90th Anniversary, you missed a powerful reminder of how the BHT community is “small but mighty” and truly represents “A House for All People”! Hearing from Rabbi Benjy Bar-Lev, Rabbi Monica (Meyer) Kleinman, and Rabbi Dan Selsberg as they described the special role BHT played in their unique journeys to become rabbis gave me new perspective on the congregation and its impact. Given that BHT has provided international inspiration (Canada counts!), I may have to rethink describing us as small!
During the celebration dinner and festivities, it also became clear that the 90 years BHT has enjoyed are due in no small part to the foresight of the founders and the continued support of BHT benefactors. As we enter our next 90 years, it was heartening to learn of the early success the “A House for All People” capital campaign has experienced. While we invest in ourselves, more importantly we invest in others – a true sense of community. I appreciate the energy and commitment the BHT family represents, how we support each other in times of joy and times of hardship. Here’s to the next 90 years, may we all share in the investment into the future and reap the blessings of our “not-so-small, but mighty” community.
As always, members are welcome to attend an LC meeting, dates are on the calendar but generally follow the second Tuesday of each month at 6:45 p.m. Come join us and share your thoughts on how we are doing. Thanks!
Vic Vercammen, President
As I write this message, the snow is very reluctantly receding but I know that spring will eventually be near. Let’s take a moment to discuss what the LC has been working on:
I want to thank Jeff Zivan and Jenny Vercammen for their help in updating, organizing and improving the accounting practices in the office. While we had processes in place, the improvements allow for the better use of technology and quicker visibility into our overall financial health which I can say is good for a community our size.
We will be preparing for the Rabbi’s sabbatical year; thank you for the volunteers that have showed a willingness to help us plan for this period. Careful planning will ensure that needed tasks continue and also allows our Rabbi to explore educational and other endeavors that bring her back to us refreshed and energized.
Continuing in that vein, BHT volunteers are also assisting us with updating policies, procedures and all the “back of the house” things that while not always evident to the membership are vital to make sure things are well-run and understood. This ties in with the LC’s mission to make BHT an easier place to use and operate. More to come as we progress along this path.
Members are always welcome to attend an LC meeting, dates are on the calendar but generally follow the second Tuesday of each month at 6:45 p.m. Come join us and share your thoughts on how we are doing.