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From the 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

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

Dear Congregants,

I want to express my sincere thank you to the Congregation for allowing me to lead CBI for the next 2 years. I feel privileged, humbled, and excited that the members have placed their confidence in me at a time when the makeup of the Jewish community is changing demographically and in numbers. These changes will challenge us to rethink how we meet the funding, religious, educational, cultural, charitable, and social needs of our congregants and community.

We started the year with an outstanding Annual Meeting. David Jacobs and Sue Williams prepared delicious South Texas hamburgers and fixn’s while Sarah Loeb won all of our hearts with delicious cobblers. Most importantly, the Social Hall was full of great conversation and joy as people met new people and others chatted with old friends and family. Best of all we were really a Family of Families in action.

Once dinner was completed we went into our formal Annual Meeting. Mike Trimyer was presented with the Exemplary Service Award and Maury Wolfson received a special award for his decades of service to CBI and the broader Jewish community. We thank both of them for their extraordinary dedication and contribution to our Congregation and the Coastal Bend Jewish community.

Chris Adler gave an outstanding presentation describing many of the accomplishments achieved under her leadership. Our efforts in Social Action provided the homeless community  4000+ pairs of socks,  food was delivered through manning the Salvation Army Food truck, and planning for additional activities this year has already begun. Educationally, we provided Torah Study, Judaism 101 course, a series of lectures by Rabbi Roseman, and a visiting Scholars weekend with a noted archeologist. Socially we had Havdalah at the Hooks and our Mardi Gras Party. We provided both Traditional and Reform Services each weekend and on the High Holidays under the leadership of Rabbi Emanual.  Our activities with youth have grown with a trip to the Houston Holocaust Museum and increased attendance at Jewish camps and weekend youth events. These are just some of the past year highlights with many more events planned for the coming year.

As we move into 2017-18 we want to make sure that we build upon our prior success and find creative ways for addressing our membership and funding concerns. I am so fortunate to be working with a superb Board of Trustees deeply dedicated to leading the Congregation for the next year.  Our outstanding Executive Committee of Rikki Schmitchel 1st Vice President, Mike Trimyer 2nd Vice President, Greg Marks Treasurer, Leslie Levy Secretary, Odelia Rios Sisterhood Representative and Chris Adler Past President will be instrumental in seeing that the activities, programs and services are implemented to the highest quality.  Our continuing Board members including Gary Blum, Linda Snider, Eva Brown, Sue Williams, Inna Klein, Suzy Hilliard and David Jacobs will provide the continuity, creativity and energy they have so wonderfully demonstrated in the past while our new Board members including Laura Hausman, Carol Rehtmeyer, Odelia Rios, and Eddie Seale will bring energizing new perspectives to help meet the challenges we face. We are fortunate to have a Board of Trustees representative of our diverse Congregation, dedicated to CBI, and eager to work hard to strengthen CBI.

Finally, I need to emphasize it will take each of us sharing ideas, finding a role, doing specific tasks and creating special experiences and relationships for us to continue to build our family of families. I look forward to a great year working with and serving each of you.
           Jim Gold, CBI President

President's Message - June & July 2017 PDF Print E-mail

Time goes so quickly when we stay busy…It’s been a very busy month for us and we still have events and activities to look forward to at the end of May.  ONE of the Highlights of the month of May was our Always Andy  musical program at our Temple on May 21.  Andy was in our CBI High Holidays Choir for quite a few years, along with being in many productions at the Harbor Playhouse.    It was a wonderful event and 125 people enjoyed the afternoon program.  We were so enthralled & entertained  by the musical talent right in our own Temple.  Rabbi Emanuel was our “Star”.  He, and we, enjoyed every note of music presented to us by Kim and Laurie Bryce, David Hines, Flicka Rahn, and Ilan Emanuel.  We presented donations of almost $1800 to the Harbor Playhouse to fund summer camp workshops in honor/memory of Andy Moore.  It was a great outreach into the community at large and greatly appreciated by many who were close to  Andy and his wife, Brucie.

Our New Member Shabbat, on Friday, April 28, was widely attended by about 12 of our new member families, along with a large attendance of our members.  We introduced all of the new members, presented them with a “welcome to our family” gift, and then had a delicious dinner.   It was such fun and we enjoy having new people in our community and our Temple.  Welcome the new members and our visitors, and when you see someone you don’t know, stop and say hello.

Havdalah with the Hooks was another fun event.  George Kopf put that program together.  We met at Brewster Street Restaurant for a “no host” dinner and then walked over to the Hooks Field together and watched a great game.  Such a fun evening….perfect weather, great friends, and lots of fun….By the way, who won??? Most of us were so busy talking, laughing,  and eating, we didn’t see much of the game. 

Full month coming up….beginning with Mira Emanuel’s Bat Mitzvah. We’ll  be there cooking, and decorating, and enjoying all of the Emanuel’s relatives that are coming from across the country and grandparents from England.  We love celebrations like this one….happy times are best of all, aren’t they?

I’m sure there’s a calendar of upcoming events, but be sure you plan to attend the CONGREGATION DINNER on Wednesday, June 28, at 6 p.m.  David Jacobs is preparing “gourmet burgers” and other delightful dishes for us to enjoy…We’ll be installing a new slate of officers for the Temple and we need to give them our support.  See you there.

BTW….events that I have talked about don’t just happen….We have people who chair them, bake, come early and set up, help clean up, and many other helpful jobs.  I can’t name all of you, but a jillion thanks to Suzy Hilliard and a dedicated group of men and women for always showing up,  chairing events, filling in gaps, and helping out in so many ways.

Also, a couple of pictures attached on some important repairs we are doing at the Temple.  We had a leaky roof a time ago, and have started fixing it.  If you recall, our 2016 High Holiday funds were designated for general repairs to our building.  Thank goodness for that!!  We are using those funds for repairs.

Thanks to you all for all you do for our Temple.  YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Chris Adler,
President Congregation Beth Israel

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

CBI March Bulletin…2017
“The March Bulletin”…”March”….how can that be? I imagine you are feeling about the same way.  It’s really been a good year.  We have a new board coming into place in about 2 months.  We renewed the Rabbi’s contract for 3 years, we’ve had great events….Adult Education programs, Shabbat Family dinners, great Food Fest, several new members, and more on the way…and a “plethora” of great activities.  I’m proud of our Temple and I’m hoping you are, too. 

At our last board meeting on February 8, we had an ongoing discussion about our “funds”, mainly our Endowment Funds, Cemetery Funds, and Trust Funds.  Richard Leshin has agreed to come to our March board meeting and explain some changes being made to our Funds & Endowments to keep us in compliance with the Laws.  Again, ongoing thanks to Richard for authoring these documents, providing updates, and changes as needed.  He also serves, along with David Engel and Don Feferman, as trustees of our Trust Documents.  Thanks to all of you who volunteer your time and energy to our important committees.  We truly appreciate you. 

Other activities for the month include a great Sisterhood party at Blue Clove, and a trip to the Mosque in Victoria, to take the check ($1800) from our congregation to the Islamic Center in Victoria.  I’m sure you’re aware their mosque was completely destroyed by arson.  The Imam was very receptive and thankful for our gift.

At this point, I’m looking at Sunday, April 2, for our Hebrew Rest ‘workday’.  We’ll get a little closer, and set a date IN INK.  Anything you know of that keep us from turning out on April 2 to clean up that beautiful old cemetery?
Have a great March…

Chris Adler
President, Congregation Beth Israel

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