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Home From the President
From the President
President's Message - July/August 2009 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Members of CBI:

My Presidency has begun, and truthfully I have a hard act to follow. Fortunately, during these past four years of our newly merged congregation we have had leadership of very exceptional quality.

First, we had Rona Train at the helm with all of her talents including her leadership skill. Rona was the perfect individual to bring to fruition the combining of our two religious institutions, and we thank Rona for all she has done.

Two years ago when Andy Lehrman assumed the presidency, we knew we had a dynamic leader with tremendous people skills, who handles the congregation’s many challenges with diplomacy. Andy has devoted his time willingly and I feel confident we can count on his input and support going forward. Andy leaves his presidency with Congregation Beth Israel in great shape. We thank Andy and Rona for jobs well done.

We are most fortunate to have Rabbi Roseman as our spiritual leader. His expertise and vast knowledge of Torah, our faith, history of the Jewish people, world geography and all religions is unsurpassed. Rosalyn and I have attended very many religious services and have yet to hear a Rabbi whose sermons are as dynamic and inspirational. Rabbi Roseman had the large task of fulfilling the merger agreement of two congregations. This task was not easy; however, our Rabbi has done his part in making the transition with compassion for all.

I feel confident that the officers and board members who will serve with me will use their diverse skills to insure a bright future for our congregation. Very, shortly, I will convene our entire board for a Sunday retreat for a brainstorming session. We shall will reflect on the past and suggest new ideas for the future.

I invite you to bring any suggestions that could make Beth Israel even more outstanding. Our congregation is a religious institution, but in many ways also a business. If you examine our budget with its many expenditures, you will see that we must each do our part and participate financially to the extent of one’s ability. I know that we can count on each of you to fulfill your obligation this year.

Congregation Beth Israel is blessed with having so many wonderful volunteers; if you haven’t as yet, please agree to serve on one of our many committees. You will feel better for participation; it is a mitzvah.

Thank you for electing me your president. I hope to warrant the confidence you have shown in me.

Thank you, have a wonderful summer and Shalom,.

Maury Wolfson

President's Message - June 2009 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Members of CBI:

        As my term as your President comes to end, I have mixed feelings. On one hand I am ready for the next President, Maury Wolfson, to take over and continue the momentum of our successful merger. On the other hand, I will miss working with several outstanding members of the CBI  without whose help we could never have accomplished all that we have these last two years.

        I would like to personally thank every Board Member who has served these last two years; all Committee Chairs and members; the staff of our Hebrew and Sunday School especially the Directors; our Ritual Committee volunteers who were always ready to step in as needed; our Cemetery Committee (who most of you never know) how much they fill a very important function CBI provides to its membership; our Dues Committee for what is, year end year out, a thankless but necessary part of keeping us in sound financial shape; the Endowment Trust Committee for making sound financial decisions; the Grounds Committee for making sure our grounds look presentable; Building Committee for making sure we maintain our physical structure’s integrity; Security Committee  and Mike Trimyer of CCPD for keeping us safe at all times; our Program Director Meredith Ryan and her many helpers for providing us with enlightening programs and Friday night Shabbat Dinners; the Scholarship Committee for ensuring that our kids can attend summer camp when not otherwise  able to; Adult Education Committee for providing us with the opportunity to attend very interesting and timely lectures.

        I would personally like to thank Rona Train and Maury Wolfson for the never-ending help and guidance to me which without I would not have been able to do what I did. I also want to give sincere thanks and appreciation to Debbie, our office administrator, as well as Natalie, who perform the daily functions needed without complaint to keep the Temple going, always with a smile and great attitude. Last, but not least, I want to thank Rabbi Roseman for his guidance, availability whenever needed, spiritual support and a shoulder to take my venting when no one else is around to do so.

         Finally I want to thank my wonderful wife, Iris, for putting up with everything that comes with this job; for her never-ending support and allowing me to take time away to serve as President. Hopefully, I have not left anyone out. If I have, I didn’t mean to. With that I say goodbye as President and wish Maury Wolfson only the best and Mazal Tov-he’ll need it but I am certain we are in good hands going forward.


                                                           Andy Lehrman

                                                           President CBI


President's Message - May 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI:

Frequently I am asked by various members of the Congregation why their annual Dues seem to increase every year. My initial response is to ask them if they have ever taken the time to look at our Annual Budget and the numerous line items that reflect the monthly and yearly expenditures that are required to keep CBI going. Most of the time the answer is no. I then provide them with a summary of what fixed expenditures are incurred every month as well as the unexpected expenses such as repairs to property, increased insurance premiums, replacement of items all of which need to funded to keep us going. Once this explanation is given, most but not all people respond “I had no idea we had all of those expenses to cover; now I can understand the need we have to ask for an increase.”

The others generally respond “we need to cut out everything that is unnecessary” or “why do we need such and such” or “ is everyone paying their fair share ”. .To those individuals, I respond back that “yes your Board of Trustees takes their responsibilities seriously in reviewing and approving the Annual Budget; whatever the Board feels is not a necessity, it discusses the merits and votes accordingly”; as to the belief not everyone is paying equitably, my response is both the Dues Committee and Board take very seriously their mandate is setting a fair dues structure and make every effort to get members to pay what is believed to be fair based on the information that is known to them.”

The purpose of discussing the above is to let everyone who is part of the CBI membership know your Board and Dues Committee strives to do the best it can to maintain the necessary funding needed to operate CBI with the resources it has available. In so doing tough decisions have to be made by those who volunteer their time without fanfare that will not please everyone. As I finish out my two (2) year term, I am very positive I leave CBI and our next President in as sound financial shape as can be hoped for with the caveat that the uncertain economic circumstances we all face with the present economy will in all likelihood require more sacrifices from each of us if want to maintain CBI as it is.As you have in the past I am confident everyone will rise to the occasion.

Andy Lehrman
President CBI

President's Message - April 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI:

Spring has arrived in South Texas and I for one look forward to getting outdoors again. The warm weather entices us to go outside and take advantage of the, soon to be over, with pleasant days and cool nights. Getting away for Spring Break means the school year is nearing the end and plans are being made for summer vacations. Here at CBI we look forward to celebrating Passover and as we have for several years, once again CBI will be hosting dinner for the 2nd Night of Passover at the Temple. Information in the last bulletin including a reservation form was sent to everyone and I would urge each of you planning to attend to send your reservations in at this time. If you did not receive one, please call Debbie at the office to request another.
Our bulletin for the first time went out by email format to all who have provided the office with your email address. By doing so, it is anticipated CBI will save $2000-3000 in printing and mailing costs which greatly helps up meet our budget. If you have not entered the computer age or do not have email, please let us know and a hard copy will continue to be sent.
Your Board of Trustees recently approved the purchase of a defibrillator, which we now have on site. We will be setting up a class to be held by Dr.Gregg Silverman to train and teach all who are interested in how to use it in case of an emergency. I am also happy to announce we are currently in negotiations with Rabbi Roseman on the renewal of his contract which we anticipate will be finalized in the near future. Finally the Nominating Committee is working on the new slate of proposed Board members for 2009 -2010 which will be announced when approved by the Board.
Iris and I wish each and everyone of you a very Happy Passover!
Andy Lehrman
Andy Lehrman, President
President's Message - March 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI:

When CBI works right, it’s like a play on stage. There are actors and dialogue and scenery and events that take place in everyone’s public view. Services happen on Shabbat, and many of us are both in the audience and in the cast. Board meetings occur every month, and congregational meetings at least once a year. The Sisterhood gift shop is open on a regular basis. Religious school and Hebrew school are held on Sunday and Wednesday; we see the students and their teachers if we are in the building. We see these things happening.

But behind the scenes, there is action of which you may not be aware. Like stagehands and lighting technicians, make-up artists and others in the theater, they are the ones who make sure the show goes on. Let me tell you about just some of these quiet, often unseen, but very essential heroes of what goes on in our congregation.

Nancy Rogers goes shopping once a week to make sure that supplies are available in the kitchen for the Oneg Shabbat. You don’t see her coming in on Friday morning with armloads of groceries, but without her Shabbat would simply not be very festive.

Alan Yaffe patrols our halls and sanctuary with diligence and intensity. Very little escapes his notice. He and Sergeant Mike Trimyer make sure that there is never a threat to the security of our members or our building, and their unheralded efforts are greatly appreciated.

Rona Train and Leslie Green quietly go about the process of cooking and storing food in our freezers so that, if some member of the congregation is ill or bereaved, we can arrange for the Mitzvah Committee to take a container of soup or a meal to encourage a return to health.

Again, Rona and her associates; Dottie Heffler, Elinor Roosth, and Phyllis Rozen are very privately needle-pointing brand new, gorgeous Torah covers for our sanctuary. You don’t even hear them when they prick their fingers, but sometime this Fall, you’ll see the fruits of their labors when the new covers are dedicated in the ark.

Joyce Clark comes into the office every Wednesday and makes sure that all the Yahrzeit reminder cards are sent out at the right time and that the names are read from the pulpit on the correct Shabbat. Most of you never see this devoted volunteer, but without her the system wouldn’t work very well.

There are many others whose quiet dedication to the welfare of the congregation and to the functioning of our program is exemplary; the ones I have mentioned are only a few, but all of them deserve our appreciation and respect. What they quietly do for all of us is vital and irreplaceable. Next time you see someone doing a mitzvah for CBI, stop and say “Thanks.” They deserve it.

Best regards,

Andy Lehrman, President
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