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Congratulations to

Bill Adams &

Richard Leshin

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Home From the President
From the President
President's Message - August 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI,

I am honored to be serving as Congregation Beth Israel’s newest president.  Having grown up in Corpus Christi as a member of Temple Beth El, I have a special connection and love for this community. I will work hard to continue the good work of Jim Gold’s administration.

One of my first duties as President is to appoint four congregational members to the CBI Board of Directors. Please help me welcome Carla DePena, Brian Honigbaum, Nedra Lockhart and Julia Noble to serve as one year appointments. I am so pleased with the makeup of the entire board and believe it represents a good cross section of our CBI Community.  We have had our first Board Meeting and I noticed a great exchange of ideas and support from the group.

I have several goals for the upcoming year.   First and foremost will be the selection of a new Rabbi for Congregation Beth Israel. The Rabbi Selection committee has had several meetings and a comprehensive application has been submitted to the Rabbinic Placement Commission.  Along with the application, we have submitted a 10 minute video about our congregation and a copy of our Bylaws.  I wish to thank Andy Taubman, who produced and created this unique sales tool. Thank you also to Andy Lehrman, Chris Adler and Rabbi Roseman for appearing in the video.

Two other areas of my focus for the coming year are our Youth and unaffiliated Jews in the community.  I have had several people step forward to assist in improving programming for our children.   We are thrilled that Jana Zager will be serving as our Religious School Administrator,  and Richard and Melissa Balkins will be leading the reorganization of the COFTY youth group. Stay tuned for updates on our progress.  When it comes to including and welcoming other Jews to join our congregation, I could use your help.  Please feel free to let me know any ideas you may have regarding this issue.  

Watch for details of our annual High Holiday Appeal as the Holidays are just around the corner.  Your Board of Directors will be working towards bringing you a fulfilling fall holiday season.  

Enjoy your summer.  

    Shalom,      
    Suzy Hilliard    
    President

 
President's Message - June & July 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI,

As I prepared to write my last newsletter column, I realized how really fast the last 2 years have flown by.  When asked to be President of Congregation Beth Israel I was both overwhelmed with a sense of awe and responsibility that has continued to this day.  Every week is full of activities including services, committee meetings, holiday celebrations, adult education and the more mundane activities as CEO—signing checks and making administrative decisions. But nothing can match the joy of watching our young people conducting their b’nai mitzvahs and observing their families proudly watch their children continue that 2000 year tradition and further extend the future of the Jewish people. These experiences and many others have made this opportunity such a wonderful experience.

Where to start the thanks? I want to extend my appreciation for the work and support provided by the Congregation Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. These individuals have been responsible for continuing to ensure our Congregation is in great financial condition and making many decisions that have enhanced our Congregation and cemeteries. I want to recognize Susan Martin who has done such a terrific job providing leadership for our Sunday School and voluntarily providing assistance in the office and lending a hand to help make sure many temple activities run smoothly. A special thanks goes out to Debbie Bustillo who with the assistance of Natalie Honigbaum keep the front office functioning so effectively. Debbie’s ability to understand and work with Congregants and non-congregants is amazing. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment has been her ability to keep me in line making sure things got done. For that she deserves a special award—she is my hero. If I start on individual thanks beyond these individuals I know I will leave someone out. However, I must recognize Julia Noble for all of her hard work, her  ‘walking the walk not just talking the talk’   and for the example she sets for all of us as a truly dedicated member of CBI, a Jew, and a caring human being.  I thank her and all of you all for making the last 2 years so successful.
 
Rabbi Roseman and I have known each other for over 30 years but working closely with him over the last 2 years has lead me to a profound respect for his knowledge, humanity, and deep commitment to this congregation. We usually meet once a week and discuss issues, concerns and situations of importance to the congregation. From those meetings I have learned about all the “little” and likely “unknown” things he does for congregants and the community. He has given me great insight into Congregation situations and has been very supportive of my decisions whether he fully approved or not.  I am grateful for his help and for all the insights he provided me as a congregation president, a Jew and as a human being that I will cherish forever.
 
I end my two years as President of CBI with the Congregation well postured to begin a new era with a change in both Congregation lay leadership and Rabbinic leadership that will allow us to adjust to the changing demographics and needs of the Corpus Christi Jewish community I hope that I have been a positive link in the dor v’dor chain of CBIs leadership. I’m not disappearing and I look forward to many more years of involvement in our CBI community. I encourage each of you to join me in getting involved in CBI activities so we can continue to grow and become an even greater family of families.

Thank you so very much for this opportunity.             
                                Shalom,
                                Jim Gold

 
President's Message - May 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI,

We have now completed three of the four planned Towne Hall meetings in which congregants expressed their concerns and needs for how CBI should support the Jewish community as well as their support for many of the current traditions and activities that we provide. In the next few weeks we will be completing the analysis process and mailing a copy of the results to every member of CBI.
 
I want to take this opportunity to emphasize one theme that played throughout the 3 sessions—despite differences, CBI has a feel of family, helpfulness, and religion that is not often present in other Jewish communities. Your Board runs the business of the CBI in a very effective manner; the decisions are based on good business practices and what is in the best interest of CBI. The Board and rabbi have supported all the agreements of the merger in order to serve the diverse needs of congregants. Adult education courses are well attended and special events such as the Rabbi’s lecture series and 92nd Street Y offer opportunities for learning often not available in other congregations. Our Sunday school offers children an opportunity to learn and socialize in a Jewish environment—both critical elements in growing up Jewish in a mid-size town such as Corpus Christi.
 
The Town Hall meetings indicated that some of these items may need to be tweaked in the future but one additional item must continue unchanged—the sense of family. Newer congregants and long-time members recognize that CBI is here to serve—people pitch-in when help is needed whether it be the Mitzvah Committee providing food, individuals baking for special events, people checking on others who are ill or those who generously contribute so that we can hold special events such as the 92nd Street Y. However, the most important ingredient is an intangible that takes place when members interact whether it be while skinning chickens for food fest, chatting at Friday night Oneg or interacting at a Town Hall meeting—it is a sense of family, caring, and pride centered on our Jewish values of Study, Torah and Tikkun Olam.
 
There is little doubt that with the ideas expressed in the Town Hall meetings, the hiring of a new Rabbi and the changing financial and demographic make-up of our congregation some changes will take place in the future. Like all change some members will be pleased, some displeased and others will not be affected. As potential changes are discussed and actions taken it is critical that each of us act in a way that is respectful of others and supports the best interest of our entire congregation. Most of all we all need to protect  our sense of family that is the true heart of CBI.
            
                Shalom,
                    Jim Gold

 
President's Message - April 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Members of CBI,

We welcomed Spring with a wonderful and meaningful Temple Passover Seder in which Congregants participated by reading portions of the Haggadah and joyously recited a “Passover Rap.” I want to thank both Rabbi Roseman for providing us  a festive, thoughtful and creative Passover service and Phyllis Roseman and the Sisterhood for the delicious Passover supper. Coming attractions for the Spring also include Rabbi Roseman’s Sunday morning lecture series, Yom Hashoa, Israel Independence day and Shavuot.
 
Of course, we have Friday night services, Saturday morning traditional services, and Saturday morning Torah Study. All of these events are opportunities for each of us to separate from our hectic secular world and immerse ourselves in our Jewish heritage and traditions.  I encourage you to join us to learn, participate in our Jewish traditions or to just meditate and think—whatever works for you.

This spring members of your Board of Trustees with the leadership of Julia Noble and Richard Hausman also have been very busy in preparing for the important Town Hall meetings that will be conducted over the next few weeks. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of your ideas and opinions regarding the future of the Congregation. Through this process we will identify the activities and services you feel will meet our congregation needs over the next 5 years or so. Once that information is studied, the results will be used in three ways:

1. Through the Newsletter we will let you know what the Congregation members told us.

2. The Board of Trustees will be using the information both to support and improve current programs and create new programs and activities the Congregation feels we need in order to serve the diverse needs of our community.

3. This information will be used by the Rabbinic Search Committee to help complete our application and create a set of questions to be answered by prospective candidates. This will allow us to find the best Rabbi available  to lead us in providing our congregants the religious, educational, cultural, social, social action, and interfaith activities and services we have identified as a community.
 
We have a wonderful family of families, but like all organizations we need to see how we can get even better and ensure we are meeting the needs of our entire Jewish Community.
 
I look forward to seeing all of you at one of the Town Hall meetings. 
   
    Shalom,
        Jim Gold

 

 
President's Message - March 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Members of CBI,

This month Congregation Beth Israel begins a journey into the future that will provide the vision and direction for the congregation over the next 10 years through conducting a Congregation Strategic Planning process. Critical to the success of this trip is the participation of as many members of the Congregation as possible---after all, this is your Congregation and your collective ideas, opinions and feelings are what must drive the vision and future direction of Congregation Beth Israel.
 
Every trip needs a very competent navigator and the same is true of our strategic planning process. In order to ensure the success of our journey I have asked Julia Noble and Richard Hausman to co-navigate the Congregation into the future. I want to publicly thank them for taking on this task, which is so important to us as a congregation.
 
At this point Richard and Julia are working on the plans and timetable for the entire process that we hope to substantially complete by the end of May. However, we have recognized that we need fuel for our journey into the future. In this case the fuel required is our congregants opinions, views, concerns and ideas. To be more direct we need your individual answer to the question, what do want our congregation to be like over the next 10 years and how can we make that happen? Or more personally, how can CBI better serve your religious, educational and social needs as a Jew?

Congregation Beth Israel has many positive aspects that we want to make sure we preserve, but we also need to identify where we can get better. Through analyzing our demographics, collecting and synthesizing your opinions and developing specific ways of meeting the current and future needs of the congregation we will make Congregation Beth Israel an even closer and more vibrant family of families.
 
To start this process I urge you to attend one of the Town Hall meetings scheduled below:

Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Thursday, April 11, 2013 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Sunday, April 14, 2013   3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
 
Remember your involvement is critical to the success of this endeavor that will have a significant impact on our Congregations future. Your voice will be heard.
 
Looking forward to seeing all of you at one of the CBI Town Hall Meetings! 
   
    Shalom,
        Jim Gold

 

 
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