Dear SBH Members,
I’d like to begin by thanking you for your patience in receiving this past-due issue of La Boz. As my mom always says, “when you do something, do it right”, and the draft of La Boz in February was simply not ready. I made the decision to delay and give it and you, the reader, the Kavod and respect it deserves, and I’m so glad I did.
In my previous La Boz article, I stated that “our plans are both ambitious and entirely achievable, and fall into four general categories: Spirituality, Fun, Food and Safety.” VP Jack Gottesman and I are thrilled to report that we are off to a great start in every category.
Rabbi Hassan has been working hard on programming and enhancing our adult education. We’ve had several well attended and delicious Friday night dinners catered by Judy Maimon with outstanding guest speakers. In addition to all that he does for SBH (and that’s A LOT), Rabbi Hassan will be teaching Chumash and Navi to SHA fifth grade students for the remainder of the school year.
Rubissa Sharona has been leading monthly Bat Mitzvah classes, and with the help of Lea Almo Lipman, launched a buddy initiative connecting the Bat Mitzvah girls with women role models in our community.
Our Youth Director Aharona has organized and run numerous events, is working diligently to train and motivate our madrichim/counselors, and is finding creative ways to increase youth participation. There have been youth led Shabbat services, divrei Torah shared by boys and girls, and youth speakers at Seuda Shelishit.
We’ve collaborated with our fellow community congregations and institutions through joint programming, supporting each others events, and being in regular communication to coordinate safety efforts. Our joint Fruticas with EB was truly fruitful, showcasing our youth and beautiful Turkish/Rhodes traditions and melodies, and was featured by Tablet Magazine on it’s ‘Unorthodox’ podcast.
We conducted a long overdue risk assessment needed to apply for a Federal Security Grant, and have joined the CSS (Community Security Service) Synagogue Program to formally train our members in safety and security.
We’ve had productive board meetings (with dinner catered by Judy), where we engaged in healthy dialogue, shared different points of view, and made important decisions.
Jack and I are proud, impressed and humbled by the amount we’ve achieved in the past few months, and we can only attribute it to our incredible staff, board, volunteers, community partners, and most importantly to you, our members. We’ve been blown away by the support, words of encouragement, and positive feedback we’ve received over the past few months. As volunteers, it means everything to know that our hard work is making a positive impact and that it is so appreciated.
That is not to say that the last few months have been easy. We’ve been faced with an abundance of day-to-day type of challenges, such as addressing security incidents, dealing with a leak and standing water (on a Friday afternoon, no less), and figuring out how to properly store the parochets taken down for the social hall painting. Yet all those issues seem inconsequential when facing the loss of our beloved Mrs. Rivka Katsman, mother of Eta Ghanooni, Mrs. Judy Harel, mother of Nisan and Rafi, Mrs. Ruth Schoenfeld, mother of Rob and Steve, Mrs. Diana Azose, wife of Dave, mother of Nis, Dorothy, and Mo, sister of Julia Jerusalmi and Rosie Maimon. Each of these special women left behind beautiful legacies and a gaping hole in the lives of their families and loved ones. There is nothing like the loss of a life to put things in perspective and remind us of our blessings, and how strongly our community unites in times of need.
And of course, there have been happy and funny moments along the way. As the first female president of SBH, I am aware that while I do have a sizeable fan club, there are people who are less than thrilled, and that’s ok - I understand that having a female leader is a big change. Last month, I met a man from another synagogue and we were chatting about the community. He didn’t know who I was and said, “I was talking to some friends of mine the other day and they were complaining about the new President over at the Bikur Holim, did you know they have a woman President?” I laughed so hard I think I cried, and before getting more information out of him, I shrieked “it’s me! I’m the President of SBH!!!” The look on his face was priceless and I’m happy to share that he has since become one of my biggest fans.
As we ride the rollercoaster of life together, I want to thank you again for being a present, devoted and active member of our community. One of my favorite sayings is ‘teamwork makes the dreamwork’, and I truly believe that together, we are unstoppable.
With warmth and gratitude, wishing you Chag kasher ve’sameach, Pesach alegre.
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