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
Greetings again, this time as the days grow longer and the temperature warmer. As you enjoy outdoor activities, I wanted to let you all know about what the BHT community can expect in the new fiscal year 2016.
What does the future bring for our congregation and community? Many organizations like to use mission statements, or develop goals & objectives. I believe these sorts of simple statements help define and focus activities and allow leaders, volunteers and interested parties to understand what we believe and where we wish to go.
Beth Hillel should be an easy place to join, an easy place to operate/administer and an easy and safe place to use or experience.
Any easy place to join implies simplicity in what we ask of our members and prospective members as well as how we tell them of our value. The member commitment process allows 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.
An easy place to operate and administer may not touch many members directly but will have significant impact on the overall community. Making valuable employee and volunteer hours that much more effective can free us to invest in other things that strengthen us. Welcoming new members, creating new adult activities – helping those who may not count many of our members as friends make stronger connections are just some of the possibilities here.
An easy place to use and a safe place will involve both short-term and longer-term investments. In the short-term we continue to reach out to new and existing members to find out what they need from us, and bring new ideas for involvement and activity. Longer-term we invest in the building and grounds to increase safety, reliability and accessibility.
As the LC conducts its work this upcoming year, we will keep these 3 concepts in mind.