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

Happy New Year!  During normal times, we would be gathering together as a community in joyful celebration of the New Year, followed by a solemn day of prayer and fasting to ask God and each other for forgiveness.  These are not normal times.  Because of the pandemic, our building is closed, our services will be virtual, and the only gathering we can do is online.  Even though we will be physically separated during the High Holy Days, I encourage you to tune in to our services via Zoom or live stream on Facebook.  It’s not perfect, but it is the best option we have at the moment.  We will get through this pandemic together.  I would like to thank Rabbi Emanuel and Rabbi Vernon for putting together meaningful and spiritual online services for us.  I would also like to thank sisterhood for providing the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Oneg boxes for us.  The Oneg boxes will be a little taste of normal life in the midst of the pandemic.  Normal life will return.  It must.  Until then, I am sending a “virtual” hug each of you and wishing you all a very happy and most especially a healthy new year.  

L’shanah tovah,

Greg                                             
Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

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

It is only August, but I think we are all ready to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror!  What a year it has been, and we are barely over halfway through it.  Well, instead of rehashing all the bad stuff that has happened, I decided to focus on the good stuff.  Yes, there are things we can be grateful for this year.  These are some of mine.  I am grateful for the opportunity work with an outstanding group of people on the temple board.  I am grateful we had the opportunity to honor the Susser family for a century of service to our community during our annual meeting.  I am grateful that we have a Rabbi who has embraced the uncertainties of our current situation and created meaningful online experiences for us. I am grateful for Debbie Bustillo who keeps our congregation running. I am grateful for Carol Rehtmeyer and her leadership of Sisterhood.  Carol is an upbeat, positive person who is always looking for fun and creative ways to bring us together and raise a little money for our temple.  On a personal note, I am grateful for my mother who keeps me grounded, and for my friends who keep me sane.  Finally, I am grateful that the pandemic brought my son, Ryan, to Corpus Christi.  I know that he is looking forward to returning to Indiana for his senior year of college, but I will always treasure being able to spend these past five months with him.  It is a gift of time with my son that I did not expect to have.    

The High Holy Days will be here in just over a month.  They will look different from years past, but we are working to create a meaningful experience for all of us.  As we begin to think about the new year, and we contemplate all of the trouble and strife we faced over this past year, I encourage all of you to take some time to focus on things that you are grateful for. 

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


L’Shalom,
Greg                                             
Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

 
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!


L’Shalom,
Greg                                             
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






 
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.    

L’Shalom,
Greg                                             
Gregory Marks
President, Congregation Beth Israel

 
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