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Home From the President
From the President
President's Message - October 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Dear CBI Family,

     It has been a busy yet successful High Holiday Season.  I am pleased to see congregants pulling together to take care of the details throughout the synagogue. Extra special thank yous to the crew that constructed the temporary traditional sanctuary including Chris and Robert Adler, Carla DePena and Quentin Cook, Brian Honigbaum, Tim Noble, Andrew Sheinberg, Mike Hiatt, Jim Gold, Mike Trimyer, David Jacobs, Joe Hernandez, Gary Blum and Jeff Itkin.  We all owe a special thank you to Gary Blum who coordinates the entire traditional service throughout the Holidays. And we cannot forget to recognize Debbie and Robert Bustillo, who took care of cleaning over 50 chairs, which were used during the Holidays.  It truly takes a village to make it through the High Holidays.  And the entire village came though on the High Holiday Appeal.  At last count, the total collected for the Camp Scholarship High Holiday Appeal was  $5,500.00. Many thanks to all of you for making camp a possibility for our students.  Holy Cow is also appreciative of the extra funds generated in recognition of the Holidays.  If you have not had a chance to contribute to either project, it is not too late to consider a donation.

Your Board has also been hard at work.  The group attended a workshop to brush up on understanding the Bylaws and interpreting our various financial statement a few weeks ago.  Many thanks go out to Natalie Honigbaum for educating your board on the intricacies involved in our financial reports.  We have excellent attendance at all meetings and meaningful discussions and contributions from the entire group.  I am most appreciative of the preparation and time needed to be a board member.  
We are a small group but we can accomplish a great deal by working together.  Keep up the good work!

Suzy Hilliard    
    President

 
President's Message - September 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Dear CBI Family,

     I can’t remember when Rosh Hashanah has ever fallen the same week as Labor Day.  The congregation office is busy preparing for another High Holiday Season.  Torah covers have been changed, reading assignments have been mailed out, and the larger High Holiday choir has begun to review their music pieces.  And as always, the annual High Holiday Appeal as begun.  As I hope you have read, we are calling on our CBI family to help build up our camper scholarship fund.  Please read my letter and consider a donation to this worthy cause.
     Even though we are all busy preparing for the high holidays, there is always congregational business to handle.  Past President Jim Gold has accepted my request to chair the Ritual Committee, which will go through a bit of a reorganization phase.  Our treasurer Robin Adams has spent a great deal of time reviewing our financials and some changes have been made to monitor funds and consolidate accounts for a better return. We have also engaged a CPA firm to help review and streamline our procedures.
     One of the more surprising discoveries during my first few months in office is the helpfulness of our congregants.  Some of our members truly help make Congregation Beth Israel run more smoothly.  In just the past month, several people have made a difference at CBI. Julia Noble and Chris Adler put together a nice reception following Dr Groner’s funeral.  Natalie Honigbaum and Susan Martin stepped in to help cover the office to allow Debbie some time off after her father in law’s death.  Rikki Schmitchel kept an eye on landscaping issues, gathered bids and had trees trimmed on our grounds.  The Fedder Family often helps Linda clean up after the Onegs and even handled clean up detail one Friday night when Linda was away.   Chris Adler has spent endless hours working on a cemetery project, and I already mentioned the great amount of time that Robin Adams has spent working on money matters for our congregation.  This list is only a sampling of what has gone on this month.  
     I look forward to seeing you all during the High Holidays.  Please join us to welcome in the New Year and reflect on how we can make this a better year for both ourselves and our Congregation.  

L’Shanah Tovah!     
    
Suzy Hilliard    
    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

 
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