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Home From the President
From the President
President's Message - June 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Friends,

After more than two months of being shut down, Texas is opening up.  Businesses are opening.  People are venturing out, and it is time for our temple to open its doors again as well.  As good as our virtual programs are, they do not compare to actual, in-person contact.  However, the coronavirus is still out there, and we are justifiably concerned about the potential for getting sick.  So, we are discussing exactly when and how we open our doors, and what precautions we should take to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.  We have cleaned our sanctuary and auditorium, shampooed our carpeting, and secured lots of hand sanitizer.  We have a small committee working on procedures to help maintain a safe environment at the temple, and the board will discuss and vote on a formal date to reopen our doors at our next meeting on June 10th.  I recognize that there will be a range of opinions on what we should (or should not) do.  Some people will be standing at the front door waiting for it to open, while others will prefer to wait for a while.  Either approach is valid, and we will continue to offer live stream programming after we open our doors so that we can remain a fully engaged community that allows everyone the opportunity to participate.   

I also want to take a moment to recognize the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  The murder of Mr. Floyd laid bare the scourge of racism in America.  While I cannot condone destruction and looting, I do feel the anger and frustration expressed in the protests and riots that have gripped our nation this past week.  

I pray for the pandemic to end so that we can return to our normal lives.  I also pray that our new normal includes an end to racism and a recognition that b’tzelem elohim, that we are all created in God’s image, applies to ALL people equally.

My friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.  I look forward to seeing you at the temple soon!

Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

President's Message - May 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Friends,

Our world has been turned upside down.  Our patriarch has been taken from us.  I share the great sadness that we all feel at the loss of Rabbi Roseman.  Our hearts go out to Phyllis, Allison, Michael, Julie, Jill, Janet, and all of Ken’s grandchildren.  Thank you for sharing your husband, your father, your bappa with us.  Rabbi Roseman was a brilliant man and a great friend.  He never stopped teaching, and learning, and doing.  He knew so much about history, and art, and music, and politics, and religion – about almost anything.  The only thing greater than the breadth of his knowledge was the depth of how much he cared about people.  

Rabbi Roseman in his own words:

“I have been trying to figure how do you live a life that is worthy of being in covenant with God. What does it take to be in that relationship?  How do you do it in such a way as you live up to that expectation.  In the book of Leviticus, it says you should be holy because the lord your God is holy. What does it mean to be holy?  In Leviticus it’s very clear.  Specific acts in community.  Doesn’t say go pray; doesn’t say go meditate; doesn’t say go to synagogue or church or temple or anything like that. It says go out and establish fair courts.  And go out and take care of the poor.  And go out and don’t lie and don’t cheat.  Love your neighbor as yourself and that kind of thing. Specific acts in community.  So, the question for Ken Roseman is, ‘what kinds of specific acts should I be doing that make me worthy of being in covenant with God.’”

That was an excerpt from an interview for the CHRISTUS Spohn foundation.  Karen Bonner shared those words with Phyllis recently while thanking her for Rabbi’s desire that donations be made in his memory to the CHRISTUS Spohn foundation.  

Earlier this week, the Estate of Harvey Grossman requested that we change the name of the fund they established at CBI to:   
The Harvey Grossman / Rabbi Kenneth Roseman
 Memorial Fund for Film and Continuing Education.

These are two concrete examples of how we can honor the memory of Rabbi Roseman.  Another is to donate to Rabbi Roseman’s discretionary fund here at CBI.  We are working on an appropriate way of honoring Rabbi’s legacy here at CBI, and those funds will be used for that purpose.

Much has been and will continue to be written about specific things that Rabbi Roseman accomplished over his life.  Instead, let me simply express my love and gratitude to Ken for his friendship and guidance over many decades.  We are all understandably sad, but I surmise that Rabbi Roseman would not put up with our sadness for very long.  He would put on his suit, or his pickle hat, or don his Santa outfit, and with a big smile and dry humor, tell us to go out and DO something. That is how we can all be in covenant with God, and that is how we can honor the memory of Rabbi Kenneth Roseman.  Zichrono Livracha.  May his memory be a blessing.

With love,
Gregory Marks

President's Message - April 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Friends,

I hope this letter finds you well – safe and secure in your homes.  I pray that the only issues you are dealing with are boredom and a shortage of toilet paper.  These are difficult times, and as the Coronavirus continues to spread across our community, we will all be impacted.  Some of us will get sick, others will have their jobs impacted.  Our lives have been put on hold, our children’s lives have been uprooted, and we are all nervous about what the future will bring.  I wish that I could promise you that everything will be OK.  I cannot.  We can, however, remain hopeful that Corpus Christi will be spared the worst of the virus, and no matter what, we will face this together.  CBI is your temple.  We are family, and we are here for you.  We are here for each other.  

I want to take this opportunity to thank Rabbi Emanuel for his leadership during these trying times.  He embraced the “virtual reality” we find ourselves in and pulled together our live-streamed Services and Torah study in a matter of days. Thank you, Rabbi!   In accordance with CDC guidelines, the Temple will be closed, but we will continue to provide virtual services through at least April 30th.  Although our virtual services are really good, and we are all enjoying them, I can’t wait to see all of you in person at the temple when this is all over!  

Passover begins next week.  Even though it is a holiday that is traditionally observed at home, this year is obviously going to be different.  Our seders will be smaller, and we will not be able to gather at the temple for our 2nd night Seder.  This year, the joy of retelling the story of our people being freed from slavery in Egypt will be tempered by the reality that we are all being held captive by the Coronavirus.   This year, in addition to giving thanks for our freedom, let us pray for an end to the scourge that is the Coronavirus.  

My friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.  Rabbi and I will continue to reach out over the phone to check on how you are doing, and we encourage you to call us if you need anything.  In the meantime, please keep practicing social distancing until we are advised that it is safe to resume normal activities.    

Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

President's Message - March 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Friends,

As you read through the bulletin, you will notice that we have a lot going on at CBI this month.  In addition to our regular services Torah study and religious school, Purim is coming up, and that means a Purim carnival and a Megillah reading.  Our sock drive is heating up, Anat Hoffman will be here March 14th /15th, the police department will lead an active shooter training on March 16th, and Rabbi David Wolfman will join us March 29th.   Yikes!  That’s a lot of stuff to do, and a lot of trips to the temple.  Why should I do all of that?  Well, that’s a good question.  Rabbi Emanuel touched on part of the reason in his article.  At CBI, we strive to be a Kehillah Kedoshah – a holy community.  The activities and programs that we offer give each of us an opportunity to get together in fellowship and friendship.  Whether we are praying or playing or laughing or learning, we are gathered together as a community.  I believe that community is important.  It is my “why” of being involved in the Jewish community.  

Each of us has our own “why”, our own reason for why CBI is important.  On March 29th, our special guest, Rabbi David Wolfman, will help us explore this concept in a discussion called “Finding your WHY.”  It is a conversation that I am really looking forward to participating in, and I look forward to learning what your “why” is as well.  

Someone who found her “Why” many years ago is Anat Hoffman.  She has fought for women’s rights and the rights of all Reform Jews in Israel for decades.  Although she will not remember me, I had the privilege of meeting Anat Hoffman while I was living in Florida.  She is a dynamic speaker who literally travels the world advocating for inclusion and equality.  It is truly an honor for us to have the opportunity to host her in Corpus Christi.  I encourage each of you to attend her talks.  You will not be disappointed.  

The next program I want to expand on is not fun, but it is important.  The Corpus Christi Police Department will present its Active Shooter training to us on March 16th at 6:00 pm.  Hopefully, none of us will ever be faced with this situation, but we owe it to ourselves to be prepared.  

OK, let’s end on a happy note.  PURIM is coming!  Hamantaschen, groggers, costumes.  Let’s have a party!  Please come out to our Purim party on Saturday, March 7th.  It’s gonna be FUN!!!

Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

President's Message - February 2020 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the URJ Biennial in This past weekend, I joined four of our teens and almost a hundred others at NFTY-TOR’s Winter Conclave in San Antonio.  While these weekends are exhausting (yes, they make us adults work!), they are also invigorating, uplifting and extremely gratifying.  It is a joy to watch our teens pray and play and learn together.  Yes, learn.  We engaged in spirited conversations about Israel and its importance, its challenges, and its place in modern American Jewish society.  On Saturday, we discussed inclusion, gender identity, and acceptance of people who may be different from you.  Then the teens participated in team building exercises, went on a scavenger hunt in downtown San Antonio, exchanged “white elephant” gifts, and ended the day with Havdalah and a pajama party.  These kids are developing lifelong friendships, and they are also forging lifetime relationships with Judaism. 

With that introduction in mind, let me speak to all the parents out there:  The next opportunity to let your kids participate in youth group is coming up this April!  Kids in 1st through 8th grades can participate in Spring Camp the weekend of April 3-5, and for teens in 9th through 12th grade, Spring Kallah is April 24-26.  If you have any questions about these two events, please give me a call!

If you believe in the value of camp and youth group but you don’t have school age children, then I encourage you to share in the joy of camp by making a donation to the Adler Camp Fund or to the Rabbi’s discretionary fund and asking him to earmark your donation to support our youth.

I would also like to encourage everyone to attend our special Shabbat service at the JCC on Friday, February 14th.  Norma Levens and our friends at the JCC are planning a special evening and dinner for our community, and I look forward to seeing many of you there.  Remember, we will be at the JCC – there will be no services at the temple that evening!

We also have two more movies in this year’s Grossman Film Series.  Please join us on February 9th and February 23rd for the screenings of “Rosenwald” which sounds fascinating and “Dough” which should be hilarious! Please show your support for the Grossman Film Series, and enjoy these two great movies. 

Finally, I would like to announce that we have renewed Rabbi Emanuel’s contract for another three year term beginning in July.  Rabbi Emanuel, thank you for your spiritual leadership and your service to our community.  We are glad that you are here!

Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

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