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
Hard to believe we are on the verge of another High Holy Days season. Can a year have gone by already? As I take a moment to consider the time, this is some of what comes to my mind.
Taking stock of our BHT community, we have accomplished quite a lot this past year. Making the community easier to join through the member commitment process which has allowed us to communicate the financial needs of the congregation in a meaningful way while also keeping the reasons to sustain a community like ours clear in everyone's mind.
While the loss of our long-time temple administrator is hard, and her 10 years of service noble – we must be happy for Ms. Lois Bruno as she pursues new opportunities. It would be selfish in a sense to hold her back, and we can take comfort in knowing her contributions to our temple office and community will be fondly remembered.
As we open new chapters in temple operations, with improved data management and payment systems we can be confident that the new staff and temple volunteers should find things easier to operate going forward. We enter the New Year ready for the challenges ahead.
I also think of apples and honey. This is not only because they are good to eat, but also that the sweetness they symbolize for the New Year is embodied within our BHT community as a whole. BHT is a sweet place to be, and with the great friends and sense of community we have here this next year will certainly be a great one!
Shana tovah, and best wishes for the New Year!