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Home From the President
From the President
President's Message - February 2015 PDF Print E-mail

I would like to use my space in the February bulletin to remind our members about all the wonderful options that are available to you as a member of Congregation Beth Israel.  It also serves as an opportunity to invite your friends to visit our many free and open to the public options.  Once a month, we provide dinner and the opportunity to visit with fellow Jews at our Family Shabbat dinner.  Members and non members alike are welcome to attend the monthly dinner following a Shabbat service that is constructed to be welcoming to all ages.  Our educational offerings are always open to members and non members alike.  During this past month, we offered an interesting 92nd Street Y viewing of a conversation between Tom Friedman and Dov Seidman  .  We also brought in a speaker, Dr.  Joel Hoffman who talked about stories that may have been left out of the bible.  Saturday morning Torah study is also open to all and provides an opportunity to learn about the Torah and other educational issues.   Of course, Shabbat evening and Shabbat morning services are always open to all. With all of these “free” options, why support Congregation Beth Israel monetarily?  It is simple, not everything can be free or pay as you go.  Life cycle events, by necessity, are only available to CBI members.  Weddings, Baby Namings and Funerals are only conducted for our membership.  Religious School and Hebrew School and Bar or Bat Mitzvahs in turn are only available to our members.  We have a wonderful facility and fantastic rabbi, both of which require a great deal of funding.  We rely on the generosity of a small group to provide for the needs of the entire Jewish Community of Corpus Christi.  Our outreach committee is working on a variety of programs to possibly attract new members.  If you should have names and contact information for unaffiliated Jews, please share these with myself, Rabbi Emanuel or the CBI office.  We would like to include as many people as possible in our efforts.  We are not after new members for pure monetary gains.  We need more people to participate in programming activities, serve on committees and share in making Corpus Christi a wonderful place for Jews to live.  Let me take this opportunity to thank the outreach committee and share their names.  Our very active group includes Greg Marks, Ann Engel, Amy Krams, Ryan and Jackie Mendeloff, Meredith Ryan, Carol Rehtmeyer, Chris Adler, Rabbi Emanuel and myself.    Please join us and support the activities offered by your synagogue.  

Suzy Hilliard      President, Congregation Beth Israel

President's Message - January 2015 PDF Print E-mail
January….the time of new beginnings.  We are now past the Fall and Winter Holidays and Food Fest, and have acclimated our new Rabbi to his new congregation.  Now we turn our thoughts to other congregational concerns.  We have organized a new committee to tackle outreach and in reach.  We are working with a model first designed by Andy Taubman as a means of approaching the issues.  Thanks to our committee who has stepped up enthusiastically to this challenge.   We are also tackling some Bylaws clarifications spearheaded by Brian Honigbaum.  In addition, I am looking hopefully forward, as we come out of one of the more difficult periods in which we have had more than our share of funerals.  I hate that there has been so much sadness for our member families, but feel comforted by the support and love shown to each family touched by death.  Rabbi Emanuel is planning a variety of educational programs for the remainder of the year and hope you will give several of them a try.  A mitzvah day is also being considered and discussed.  No matter where your interests lie, we hope you can find something special here at Congregation Beth Israel.  Happy 2015!!

Suzy Hilliard
President, Congregation Beth Israel

President's Message - December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
As I write this article, our congregation is recovering from all that is Food Fest.  I have not seen financial reports, but I am sure we made a nice profit.  Honestly though, I am more excited about the intangible gains from the weekend.  First, the benefits to our congregation beyond the monetary ones are great.  The team work that is required of our small Jewish community to pull off an event of this size is considerable.   Every child, sisterhood spouse and most importantly, each Sisterhood member is there for us, in numerous aspects.  Our working together strengthens our bond to each other- an important benefit of the Food Fest Weekend.   Second, the Food Fest is a great gift to our Corpus Christi community.  We are given the opportunity to teach our neighbors about our heritage and traditions. The Sanctuary tours were a great addition to the Food Fest Weekend and our thanks go out to Rabbi Emanuel for tackling the job with enthusiasm.  The opportunity to teach about Judaism through food, music, gifts and conversation will always be a very positive aspect of the Food Fest.   Thanks to every congregant, but especially to Sisterhood for providing us with this very wonderful PR tool.  (and some fabulous food)  November also offered the Joint Thanksgiving celebration with The Church of the Good Shepherd.  Thanks to all who attended and welcomed our neighbors in yet another demonstration of Good Will to our community.  

December is another busy month at Congregation Beth Israel.  We are partnering with the JCC to have a Chanukah celebration on Wednesday, December 17.  We will also have our Family Shabbat dinner on December 12 and the religious school will also celebrate the holiday as well.   There are plenty of opportunities to say Happy Chanukah to fellow congregants.  Please join us as often as possible.   December will also be the beginning of meetings for our Outreach committee.   This group will be tasked with formulating ideas on how to reach out to both unaffiliated Jews in the community and the less involved members within our own CBI family.  If you have interest in helping with this project, please just let me know.  Stay warm and healthy this month, and visit Congregation Beth Israel often!!

                Suzy Hilliard   
                CBI President
Presiden'ts Message - November 2014 PDF Print E-mail

You can smell those wonderful Deli items as you pull in to the parking lot of Congregation Beth Israel.  Personally,   I have been involved with the Food Fest for 26 years and I have learned that you only get out of this event what you put in to it. So, please plan on contributing in a number of ways.  Sell raffle tickets, supply some silent auction items, come help cook, bake dozens of sweets, provide several items for the Vintage shop and finally, attend the event on Saturday or Sunday.  No excuses- even if you are out of town the weekend of the event,  there is plenty to do in the weeks leading up to Food Fest.  The Sisterhood supports our congregation in so many ways; they need our help to pull off this major event.

Now that Rabbi Emanuel is officially installed as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, and as he and his family have become an integral part of our CBI Family, we can begin to ease in to an Emanuel routine.  Special thank yous to all who attended the Installation and to Iris Lehrman for pulling together a festive Oneg Shabbat celebration.  One of the changes that may occur over the next several months is the arrival of our new prayer books.  Thanks to the generosity of our congregation, we have ordered 150 copies of Mishkan T’filah. I was overwhelmed with the response to the High Holiday Appeal and look forward to exploring a new worship experience with all of you.   We will continue to enjoy a monthly family Shabbat worship together, including the use of special music.  We have been pleased with the response and are especially grateful to Diana Stillman for her guitar accompaniment each month.  Later this month, we will be hosting the Church of the Good Shepherd for  our annual Thanksgiving Service.  Please make a point of being here to act as hosts to our guests.  I am thankful for all the support I have received as your president.  I truly appreciate every effort made to make Congregation Beth Israel a family of families.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and visit your “family” often.  


            Suzy Hilliard, CBI President

President's Message - September 2014 PDF Print E-mail
As I mentioned last month, your board was busy in August with various board meetings, committee meetings and a board workshop.   The workshop was led by Rabbi Emanuel, based on a session he attended at the URJ’s Meeting for Rabbi’s moving to a new congregation.  He knew our “story” about the merger, but what he did not know was our “story” prior to the merger, the stories of B’nai Israel and Temple Beth El.  What followed was an interesting walk down Memory Lane.    Following this conversation, we had other discussions which concluded with homework for the next Board meeting.  Many thanks go out to Rabbi Emanuel for leading this exercise.  

Now we move on to the holiest days of the year.  As you can imagine, Rabbi Emanuel and your board are busy preparing for the holidays.  Services are reviewed, Rabbi Trostser is consulted, Sisterhood is busy preparing to tempt us with treats, Debbie and Natalie work on the memorial book, and finally, your board selects an area to spotlight for our High Holiday Appeal.  If you will recall, Rabbi Roseman held several sessions about the new prayer book adopted by the Union of Reform Judaism.  The Ritual Committee in conjunction with Rabbi Emanuel and the Board of Trustees has decided to move ahead with adoption of the Mishkan T’Filah prayer book.  This book can be used for Shabbat evening services, including the possibility of a Saturday morning service.   The adoption of the new prayer book means we will be encountering a substantial out lay of cash in order to secure enough prayer books to accommodate  a well attended Shabbat Service.  We are asking our congregation to help cover the cost of these books, and in exchange you can publicly honor a loved one. We will gratefully accept any and all donations to the High Holiday Appeal, but will be able to offer a name plate for every $50 donation made to the fund.   Following the end of the High Holiday Appeal, I encourage you to continue to make donations to the Prayer Book Fund.  We will continue to place dedication plates in a prayer book for any contribution of $50.  We will be purchasing books over a several year period which may include festival services and some large print books as well.  

My Family and I wish you L’Shanah Tovah with hopes for a year of peace for Israel.  

                                Suzy Hilliard    
                                CBI President
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