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
Ant hills need money, too...
For those of you paying close attention, I invoke the analogy of the ant a lot. I think there are many similarities between the small but mighty. Whether it be the power of participation or the sense that BHT is "bigger" than its size might otherwise predict I like the comparison.
And so it is with money. It is no secret to any of us that it takes money to operate nearly anything today and a congregation community is no exception. Staff, facilities, repairs and activities all take their fair share of the funds we have available.
What you may not know is, like most congregations, dues make up half or less of the money needed to do what BHT does. The difference is made up through the everyday generosity of members, giving what they can when they can.
Over the past year, a number of dedicated temple members have been researching what would be needed to fund 3 critical areas of need into the future:
• Accessibility improvements, such as an elevator and accessible restrooms.
• Capital funds for other building improvements, like A/C and other functional upgrades.
• Infusion of money to strengthen Spiritual Legacy and other foundational funds to prepare for
the present and future.
In the next few weeks, I expect some exciting news from the Capital Campaign committee. They will need all of us to give our time, energy and money. To paraphrase the great US Senator Everett Dirksen, a thousand here, a few thousand there and soon you're talking real money! Every bit counts, every member matters and every contribution helps.
Beth Hillel Temple, small but mighty!