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Home From the President
From the President
President's Message - January 2018 PDF Print E-mail
This month I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2017 URJ Biennial in Boston, Massachusetts. I had no idea of what to expect, however, from the opening general session I knew I was in for a once in a lifetime experience.  I was truly moved by the awe-inspiring general assembly speakers, high quality learning sessions, integration of modern and traditional Jewish music, and the spirituality that was infused into the entire 5 days. Overall, I enjoyed meeting and conversing with fellow Jews from all walks of life and Congregations – there was truly a sense of “Jewishness” felt throughout the Biennial.

Inspiration came from outstanding speakers such as Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker, Reverend William Barber, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and the “Nanny” Fran Drescher.  Each speaker identified challenges we face as Americans and Jews living in a polarized world and eloquently emphasized the necessity for each of us to increase our civil dialogue, participate in advocacy initiatives and engage in our communities in order to make the them even better. The issues raised were about social justice, inclusion of all people, a shared responsibility for all of us to engage in helping people and to live up to our Jewish imperative of Tikkun Olam. As we do these things individually and as a congregation we are fostering a vibrant Judaism that is responsive to our diverse congregation and community needs in 2018 and beyond.

I was pleased to be joined at the 2017 URJ Biennial by CBI First Vice President Rikki Schmitchel and CBI Sunday School Director Manuela Sela. We attended many of the general events together but each of us took advantage of different quality learning sessions that we felt would be valuable for us individually. We all came away from these learning sessions more knowledgeable and inspired to serve our Congregation.

My personal highlight of the 2017 URJ Biennial conference happened during the Saturday morning Shabbat service where the representatives of Congregations whose members directly impacted by recent natural disasters were given the honor to carry a Torah throughout the Hall as part of the Torah service.  I was especially moved standing on the stage looking out at the 5,500 congregants, listening in complete silence, to Rabbi Ric Jacobs compassionate words describing the terrible consequences the disasters had taken on our Jewish communities and camps.  Then I carried the Torah through the audience with the people clamoring to touch the Torah and expressing their compassion, concern and well wishes to those effected by the disasters. It was truly a special moment for me that will always be a source of inspiration and hope.

As a temple leader, my main take away from the learning sessions and discussions with other congregation board members is the need for us to engage in creating a CBI Strategic Plan that will build upon our current strengths and develop strategies and actions for meeting the challenges we face. Through this process we will have specific directions as to our finances, membership, programs, services, cemeteries, facilities and any operational responsibility of the Board of Trustees.  

Finally, I need to tell you that as I talked to people from other cities about our social action activities, our educational programs, and especially Food Fest they were so impressed that a congregation our size does so much. How proud and honored I am to have the privilege to lead our special ‘Family of Families”.

Happy New Year to all
          Jim Gold, CBI President

Presient's Message - December 2017 PDF Print E-mail
I want to thank and congratulate the more than 50 Congregants and friends of CBI for your monumental effort in making Food Fest so successful. Final figures will be available in the near future but now we can all be proud of the funds raised. Just as important I continuously felt the sense of “family” as people cooked together, served food, and assisted in the various “Shops”. People met new people and reunited with old friends in a very positive manner. Finally, our guests were so pleased with the great food and fast lines that many were repeat customers from not only past years but returned on Sunday after feasting on Saturday. What greater compliment can we have than repeat business. In summary, I believe when all the final data is in we will be able, because of you, to declare Food Fest 2017 the best ever.

December is a busy month with Hanukah celebrations and our annual December 25th movie and Chinese dinner event. CBI will be having 2 Hanukah events. First, our Hanukah Shabbat family dinner will be held at CBI on Friday, December 15, 2017. We will have a family service followed by a traditional Hanukah family dinner. Second, CBI and JCC are co-sponsoring a Hanukah celebration on Tuesday, December 12th, 6:00pm-8:00pm at the JCC. This will be a special and fun evening with latkes, lighting the large and personal menorahs, and a ton of family fun. Special this year is an appearance by Joe Buchanan who sings and plays guitar with a southern soul and country charm. It will be a fun evening for the entire Jewish community. Please check the special announcement in this bulletin for more details.

On December 25th, we will be holding our traditional Chinese dinner and movie in which we all gather together for a fun evening of food and culture. The movie this year is the Life of Pi which is a beautiful, thought provoking and highly reviewed film. Come and enjoy this wonderful CBI tradition with your Family of Families.

We have all successfully navigated through the High Holidays and Food Fest and worked very hard to help our Congregants, nearby communities and other Jewish Congregations recover from Hurricane Harvey but now we need to turn our attention to our overall CBI operations and programs. The Membership Committee plans strategies and activities for sustaining CBI by developing ways for us to attract new member and retain our current membership while the Fund Raising Committee is charged with finding ways to create additional income. Both of these Committees are critical for ensuring CBI flourishes now and in the future. As times change we, like most Congregations, are having to find new creative ways to maintain the challenges of membership and funding. We need your help as your ideas and support are critical to our success. Please E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information and to join the Membership Committee and/or Fund Raising Committee.

Looking forward to seeing you at Shabbat services and our December events.  Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

    Jim Gold,
    CBI President

President's Message - November 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members,

In October, I had an opportunity to meet with Congregations in Texas that had been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The meeting was led by Ric Jacobs head of the URJ who was assisted by several of his staff members. They described the situations in Florida, the Caribbean and California where fires destroyed a Jewish camp. He described the physical, human, financial and psychological toll of all these events. Each individual description was horrendous but the aggregate of all these events was simply overwhelming. After his description, each of us told our own stories which was heart wrenching. However, within each sad story there appeared another story of how people bonded together to help each other regardless of past histories, politics or personal costs. People created new friendships and renewed old ones despite past relationships.

I had three takeaways from this session that I would like to share with you. First, most of our Congregation fared much better than those who lived in the Houston area. Second, as a Congregation we did a wonderful job of aggressively identifying our congregants who needed help and assisting them. Third, it really put in perspective what is important in life.  All of us face challenges which feel so important at the time but are more or less transitional and go away over days, weeks or months. However, events like Hurricane Harvey are transformational and truly change lives forever.  When facing challenges as both individuals and as a Congregation we need to think about whether the challenge is transitional or transformational and act accordingly in the best interest of all.
Jim Gold, CBI President

President's Message - October 2017 PDF Print E-mail

As I write this article fall has arrived, the High Holidays will soon be over, and hopefully people impacted by Hurricane Harvey are beginning to recover and heal from this devastating event. I want to thank everyone who reached out to help our fellow congregants, the greater Coastal Bend communities, and our fellow Jews in Houston, Galveston and now Puerto Rico. Through your generous financial support and actual physical effort of helping people in Port Aransas clean-up, we individually and collectively experienced the heartbreak of disaster and the true joy of Tekkun Olam.

As we begin 5718 we should all be proud of our vast array of programs and services designed to meet the diverse needs of our membership. I am reminded of the fact that each of us connects with CBI in our own way based on our religious history and current needs. Here are some examples of what we provide: Friday Reform Services, Saturday Traditional Services, Torah Study, Havdalah at the Hooks, Sisterhood Food Fest, all life cycle events, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, 2nd night Seder, Rabbinic pastoral services, food and clothing for the homeless, Mitzvah meals and support for the homebound and many more events and services. Most importantly we are building the future of our heritage by providing our young people with knowledge and experiences that will motivate them now and in the future to continue our proud 2000 year commitment to Judaism. Although individual participation in these programs and services varies greatly, it is critical to understand they are available when people want to connect with CBI in a way that resonates with their needs.

In order to provide all these services, programs, and maintain our beautiful building it takes people and financial resources. CBI like most congregations has reached a point where your generous dues are not enough to cover our operating expenses and we need more people to help operate and expand our current programs and services to better serve our community.

We are fortunate to have generous individuals who are able and willing to support CBI at higher levels which allows all of our members access to every congregation activity and service. We also have individuals who dedicate a great deal of time helping us run our programs and services and we have many that do both. To all of you, the Congregation owes our deepest gratitude and thanks. 

During the High Holidays, we take the time to personally reflect and decide how we can renew our commitments to improve ourselves, our families, and the world in general. As you do this I recognize that each of has a different commitment as to how we practice Judaism and how we can make the world better. CBI offers many ways for our members to connect with CBI and fulfill their spiritual, educational, and social needs. I ask you to consider giving to the High Holiday Appeal and/or volunteer to participate on a CBI Committee or special project as part of your commitment to CBI in 5718. I am not asking that you give more than you can afford in either money or time but perhaps, on reflection, you can find a way to give a little more—your contribution will be greatly appreciated.

I am very excited about the new year and about the future of our Family of Families.

L’Shanah Tovah
       Jim Gold, CBI President

President's Message - September 2017 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Congregants,

I am writing this newsletter with a mixture of relief, concern, gratitude, and optimism. I am relieved that we were able to contact most of our congregants who were either homebound or living in the areas devastated by hurricane Harvey to confirm their safety, identify their immediate needs, and help some with temporary housing, food and support. I am relieved that our congregants have survived Harvey and we are now in the recovery process. I am concerned that some have had their homes and communities devastated and the healing process will be much longer for them. I am grateful for both the e-mails and calls from Temples from all over the country expressing their concern and wanting to help bring normalcy to our lives and to the Congregants who pitched in to help each other. I am optimistic that the coming year will allow all of us to start to heal from this distressing experience, continue to help others, and have an ever increasing appreciation for what is important in our lives. 

Prior to hurricane Harvey Rabbi Emanuel and I met with Dr. James Caplan’s brother and received a $500,000 donation to CBI from his estate. The large amount gets our attention right away but I think it is very important for me to share some thoughts expressed by Dr. Caplan’s brother regarding why his brother made such a generous contribution. Dr. Caplan was a member of the congregation for many years and supported us through significant dues and contributions to various fundraising efforts such as Food Fest Raffle Tickets and any special times funds were requested.  However, his brother indicated Dr. Caplan was not someone who closely followed Jewish rituals or regularly attended services but rather had a great appreciation for growing up Jewish. He was concerned about protecting the heritage of the Jewish people and he had a great love for Israel having traveled there several times. But most of all he gave in order to help the Jewish community in Corpus Christi to not only survive but to flourish. For him, this was an investment in the Jewish people given from the heart with no strings attached so that our Family of Families may prosper now and in the future.  

Given the devastation of Harvey and the upcoming High Holidays perhaps we should all think about Dr. Caplan’s commitment to helping people and our CBI community in this same manner – simply giving time, energy, and money out of love and caring to help people in need, support CBI, and sustain our Jewish heritage in whatever ways possible.

Wishing everyone a heathy, happy, and prosperous new year.
           Jim Gold, CBI President

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