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From the President
President's Message - September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
In the coming days you will hear the greeting “Shana Tova” used over and over again at CBI.  It is a greeting used during the High Holidays that many of us heard first as youngsters and understand the translation to be Happy New Year or have a good year. I want to suggest that the greeting may have an alternative meaning  which better conveys more than just hope for the new year but reflects our responsibility to act.

In Hebrew words are usually made up of 2 or more root letters that when combined with other vowels can take on another meaning. Adding other  vowels to  the three root letters of “shanah” you can create the word “shoneh” which means to be “different” or the verb “l’shanot”, which means to “change”.  

To me, thinking of  “l’shana Tova” as meaning “change” truly conveys what the High Holidays are about. Individually we must act by reflecting internally and externally on how we have improved or changed over the past year and what we need to improve or change next year to make ourselves, our families, our communities and yes, our congregation better. 

I leave it to each of you to reflect and identify changes that will improve yourselves, family, and community. However, I am asking that each member, young and old, new or tenured, traditional or reform, to consider new ways to increase your Jewish identity at CBI.  Attend programs and services, serve on one of our new Committee Teams, volunteer to participate in services (light the candles/carry the Torah), participate in adult education activities or volunteer a few hours in the office to help CBI flourish by helping provide the programs and services needed to meet the diverse needs of our “Family of Families.

You will also have an opportunity this year to tell us how we can serve you better through a Strategic Planning Process which will include survey(s) and discussion groups. Please take advantage of these opportunities to help us reflect on how we can meet the  current and changing needs of our congregants. Our goal, through your involvement, is to be a welcoming congregation that flourishes now and in the future by serving the  Jewish spiritual, educational, and social needs  of our diverse Coastal Bend Jewish community.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the High Holiday services. Remember there are no tickets, fees or dues requirements. Just come and welcome the new year with friends.

L’Shana Tova-
Wishing you all a happy New Year  and good changes for 5779.
Jim Gold, CBI President 

From the President - August 2018 PDF Print E-mail

I want to thank our Family of Families” for entrusting me with the honor leading CBI in continuing to bring , meaningful opportunities for our members to worship, learn, work, and celebrate our treasured Jewish traditions and continue to build positive relations with the Greater Coastal Bend community.

This past year was very successful and we are off to a great start this year. Plans for the High Holiday services are well underway as we have 1) hired Rabbi Ari Vernon from Houston to conduct our traditional services, 2) are arranging  readers for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and  3) planning for the Break the Fast. Food Fest Is off to a fast start under the direction of Phyllis Roseman and Chris Adler with David Jacobs Coordinating the food and Sue Williams coordinating the other shops. Of course, Rikki Schmitchel is working her magic throughout the event.  This past week, the Sunday School staff and Rabbi Emanuel met with ISJL representatives to discuss changes in the Sunday School curriculum. I believe the ideas suggested will enhance each child’s Sunday school experience.  Put August 24th on your calendar as the first family dinner. We will be celebrating the end of summer with a “Family of Families” indoor picnic.

My overall vision for CBI this year is to increase the quality of our programs and services so they are tailored to the needs of our congregants. In order to achieve this, we are activating our various committees to identify  needs and developing long and short-term strategies for addressing them. We will be organizing this effort over the next 30 days and will keep you informed of our progress. 

Looking forward to working with you to make CBI the best we can be in serving the entire Coastal Bend Jewish Community.

Thank you,
Jim Gold, CBI President

President's Message - June & July 2018 PDF Print E-mail

On April 1, 2018 CBI began our 2018-2019 fiscal year after a rather tumultuous 2017-18 year.  As I look back I see our year constantly shifting with joy and sorrow, happiness and sadness, wonderment and grief, and caring and concern. Take a walk back with me through memory lane of a sample of events that our “Family of Families” experienced this past year:

 · We started with the High Holidays where many of our congregants joyfully participated in the services and delighted in the Yom Kippur breaking of the fast

· The beautification day at Hebrew Rest provided everyone the opportunity to respect and pay tribute to those who passed before us. 

· The success of our Sisterhood Food Fest provided good will for our Corpus Christi community and welcome financial funds for CBI. 

· Our annual Passover Seder was enjoyed by all in attendance.   

· We viewed Israeli movies that were humorous, dramatic and always had an important message. 

· Rabbi Emanuel and Rabbi Roseman presented stimulating adult education lecture series.  

· Our youth were involved in many camp and other activities designed to immerse them in their Jewish culture and heritage. 

· Reform services were held every Friday night and conservative services on Saturday morning.  

· Torah study took place every Saturday.  

· We had a very moving Yom HaShoa service highlighted by the musical performance by Batsheva. 

· Our Mitzvah Committee provided monthly meals and support for those who are homebound. 

· Our Social Action Committee provided socks and food for the homeless among their many activities. 

· Our Shabbat family dinners were well received and a time for Congregants to welcome the Shabbat with friends and family. 

· Congregants responded to Hurricane Harvey by helping clean up in Port Aransas and assisting Congregants by arranging shelter, food and ensuring their basic needs were met.  

· We conducted life cycle events including the naming of babies, weddings and funerals. 

· Our year was  topped off with a beautiful Confirmation Service created and lead by our confirmation students as they described personal heroes they would like to emulate.  

On April 1, 2018 CBI began our 2018-2019 fiscal year after a rather tumultuous 2017-18 year.  As I look back I see our year constantly shifting with joy and sorrow, happiness and sadness, wonderment and grief, and caring and concern. Take a walk back with me through memory lane of a sample of events that our “Family of Families” experienced this past year:  

This is a sampling of the comprehensive and diverse social, religious, and educational programs and services provided to CBI Congregants this past year. These offerings would not be possible if were not for Rabbi Emanuel and the many volunteers who put in countless hours to make these events happen. I want to extend my personal appreciation to our Board of Trustees who have done an excellent job in managing our Temple. A special thanks to Debbie Bustillo, Mike Trimyer, Natalie Honigbaum and Linda Bustillo who ensure CBI is well run, maintained beautifully, and safe. I believe we can say this has been a great year. 

In the coming year we look forward to continuing to provide outstanding programs and services but we also need to take a closer look at how we can effectively address the challenges of decreased membership, declining financial support, and meeting the diverse needs of our Jewish community. Over the next year we will be undertaking a strategic planning process that can only be as good as your participation. There will likely be a Congregation Survey and meetings to discuss our identified needs and develop strategies for addressing them over the next 5-10 years. It is clear that we can no longer just plan from year to year but must look ahead and plan for changing conditions over time. I will be asking each of you to engage in the Temple planning so that CBI can continue to lead the Coastal Bend Jewish community by meeting our congregants diverse social, religious, education, and cultural needs. 

Finally, I urge all of you to attend the Congregation Beth Israel Annual Meeting at 6:00 PM on Thursday June 28, 2018.  We will hold elections for Board of Trustees positions, approve the 2018-19 budget, and enjoy a great David Jacobs cookout dinner.

Until then, I wish you all an outstanding summer.

 Jim Gold, CBI President

President's Message - May 2018 PDF Print E-mail

In April, Congregation Beth Israel provided an exciting array of programs and services for our Congregation to enjoy.  We offered 2 Israeli movies that were both thought provoking and entertaining. We saw the #1 Israeli movie entitled the Women’s Balcony (preceded with pizza) and later in the month we celebrated Yom Haatzmaut, Jewish Independence Day, with the showing of the popular Israeli film, The Bands Visit which is now a Broadway play. Both of these movies provided us a glimpse into some of the religious and social dynamics of life in Israel today. Both DVD’s are available through our CBI Library.

On Yom HaShoa, we experienced a remarkable evening of remembrance of the Holocaust with prayer, song and storytelling.  Rabbi Emanuel, accompanied by Holocaust survivor Nina Shannon, walked silently through the  sanctuary carrying  our relished Holocaust Torah. The Rabbi then read a portion of the Song of the Sea from the Torah which reminded us of earlier freedoms achieved. Rev. Sean Maloney provided an ecumenical prayer for all those who died and suffered during the Holocaust regardless of religion. Then Batsheva our visiting musician, singer, and storyteller, beautifully and emotionally sang songs in English, Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino memorializing the evening. She also told stories of people, places, events, and heroes of the time.  There were over 80 people in attendance including many visitors from various churches in the community. We were pleased that at the wine and cheese gathering after the service, our guests and congregants alike expressed how unique, moving and meaningful the experience had been.

I am so excited that recently 14 students accompanied by Greg Marks and Margaret Barnett attended a weekend session at Greene Family camp. Under the leadership of Greg, our youth have experienced their “Jewishness” through not only formal learning but by both having the opportunity to interact with Jewish youth from all over the state and being immersed in Jewish camps, weekend events, and visiting places like the Houston Holocaust Museum. These are the experiences that allow our youth to not only learn about being Jewish, but truly live and feel the Jewish experience which will remain with them forever.

Speaking of youth, I encourage everyone to attend the Confirmation/Shabbat/family dinner evening on May 11 at 6:30 P.M. This service is unique in that the students will be conducting the service and providing their insights into the prayers and what Confirmation means to them. Dinner in honor of the Confirmation Class will be provided by their parents. This is an event you won’t want to miss.

Please set aside the evening of June 28, 2018 to attend the Congregation Beth Israel Annual Meeting. You will receive details of the event later in the month.

     Have a great month.

               Jim Gold, CBI President

President's Message - April 2018 PDF Print E-mail

The March Family Service and Purim celebration was a joy for all who attended. We were treated to a Rock Musical Purim service highlighted by the Megellah being sang to the tune of rock tunes. Following the service, we were treated to a wonderful Mediterranean dinner prepared and served by the Middle East Market. Special thanks go out to Rabbi Emanuel and Dianne Stillman who created and performed the Purim Rock Musical and to Marcus Lozano for arranging the dinner and to Sue Williams for the Purim piñatas and decorations.

This month we are looking forward to several events at CBI. On April 14th I urge you to join us to view the 2016 #1 Israeli Film entitled, “The Women’s Balcony.” This is a comedy/drama about women speaking the truth to patriarchal power. The film is equally humorous and thought provoking. Pizza will be served at 1:00 pm and the movie will start at 1:30 pm. It will be great fun.

Thanks to Randi Emanuel and Leslie Green, CBI will be holding a rummage sale on April 22, 2018. This is a 100% fundraiser for CBI, so I encourage you participate by donating lightly used goods and furniture and volunteering to assist with the sale. If we all pitch-in we can make this sale a great success.

Torah Study will be  different for the next 7 weeks as we will shift from studying the Torah to examining the Pirkei Avot, often translated as the “Ethics of our Fathers”. Although you may not be familiar with the Pirkei Avot you may be more familiar with the many sayings and aphorisms it contains. There is no halachah or Jewish law, but it is critically important because it provides an important window into our Jewish traditions.  It will generate interesting discussions and be a great group learning experience. I encourage everyone to attend.

Finally, I want to express my sincerest congratulations and thanks to Debbie Bustillo who just celebrated her 10-year anniversary at CBI. Her dedication and ability to effectively juggle all the responsibilities of the CBI office is an incredible asset to CBI. Thank you Debbie for all you do for us.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at our wonderful April events.

     Thank you,
               Jim Gold, CBI President

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