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From the President
President's Message - September 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI,

Despite the summer heat, vacations, and other interests, attendance at Friday night services has been wonderful. Each Friday night we have had 30-50 attendees who immersed themselves in the services and then enjoyed socializing with old and new friends at the Oneg Shabbat. This summer we were especially blessed with the presence of Rabbi Plost and Cantor Star Trompeter. Rabbi Plost’s leadership and meaningful words and Cantor Trompeter’s beautiful singing and Torah reading were an inspiration for all of us who took the opportunity to join together on Fridays during the summer. Thank you to all of you who participated.

It is difficult to believe that summer is drawing to a close and the High Holidays are just around the corner. As Jews we can prepare for the holidays in many different ways including but not limited to early food preparation, purchasing new outfits or even a trip to a mikvah. One tradition we follow in Corpus Christi begins several weeks before Rosh Hashanah when the Rabbi blows the shofar each Friday night. One interpretation of this ritual is that the sound of the shofar is a way of both announcing the coming of the High Holidays and alerting us that we are entering an especially serious and meaningful holy period—the days of awe.  Although most of us will not head to a mikvah, we might ask how can we prepare for the days of awe in our contemporary world? How each of us chooses to prepare for the holidays is an individual choice but I would like to make some suggestions:
1. Make the holidays a time to set ourselves apart from our regular daily work routine.  There are approximately 2080 hours in a normal work year-- can we not set aside 16 hours (.8% of the total work year) to attend Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in which we have the opportunity for uninterrupted self-reflection, repentance, and rejuvenation. Perhaps this small investment of time will result in making our lives better the remaining 99.2% of the time.

2. Make the High Holidays a part of your children(s) education and come as a family to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services. The public schools recognize the importance of our Jewish holidays and children have excused absences and are able to make up any missed work. Yet how many of our school age children attend services? Yes, it is a little extra work but fits into the school’s effort not only teach facts but to build character as well. It is a sacrifice (more an inconvenience) but serves as a reminder of the sacrifices our forefathers experienced to protect our heritage and indicates to our young people how important Judaism has been in the lives of our ancestors and how relevant it can be to us today.
3. Give a donation to the Annual High Holiday Appeal Fund. This year the proceeds from the drive will be used to continue upgrading the cemetery at Seaside Memorial and provide support for Jewish community members who are in need of a helping hand in these difficult times.  Both of these causes are Mitzvahs that serve our local Jewish community and may touch us all in one way or another.

4. Consider giving to the CBI annual food drive to help replenish the Corpus Christi Food Bank. Bring a bag of food as a symbol of your contribution and if possible a check so that those less fortunate in our community can have the basic necessities so many of us take for granted.

5. Consider volunteering on one of our CBI committees. As a modestly-sized temple with a small but extremely competent administrative staff we are very much dependent on the help of congregation volunteers to make things happen. We have an all-too-small core of dedicated individuals with huge hearts who we call on over and over again to get things done. We need to have that group grow so that we can serve our congregants even better. The work of most committees takes an amazingly small amount of time but has a great impact on both the volunteers and our congregation.
I hope each of you will consider following one or more of my suggestions and through your efforts we will build an even greater family of families at CBI. I wish all of you a healthy, happy and successful new year.
                                    L'Shanah Tovah
                                    Jim Gold

President's Message - August 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI,

I want to thank all of those who attended the Congregation Beth Israel Annual Meeting and cookout. It was a unique day for the CBI in that several people took advantage of the proxy voting process that was approved at the Special Congregation meeting earlier in the year and the barbeque prepared by David Jacobs was not only a CBI Annual Meeting first but also first-rate! All who attended had a great day.

As summer starts to wind down we begin to gear up for the coming year.

The 92nd Street Y Fall Schedule is out and includes noted author Tom Friedman, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain Lord Jonathan Sacks, and Thomas Jefferson biographer Jon Meacham.  Please plan to attend this great fall lineup.

The August 24th Shabbat will be an early service so that family and friends can enjoy a Shabbat dinner together at our local restaurants.  For those who wish to stay at the CBI there will also be the usual array of treats.

On October 7th there will be a special musical and cultural event at the concert hall at Texas A and M Corpus Christi. Through Rabbi Roseman’s leadership several churches, a mosque and CBI have joined together to share their musical heritages.  The performances will not only be entertaining but will help us all better understand each other.

Looks like a great start to the year!

As each of you look at your time commitments for the year I would encourage you to consider participating on one of the CBI committees. Your choice may be related to a special interest,  skill or you may just want to help in anyway possible.  With few exceptions most committee assignment time requirements are very limited. If you are interested please contact the CBI Office.

In early August the CBI Board will be making plans for 2012-013.  I would like your input as to any ideas or actions the Board should consider for the coming year. This is your Congregation and your input is critical to making CBI a dynamic organization that serves the religious, educational, social needs of our members. Please submit your ideas to the CBI Office or myself.

                            Please stay cool and enjoy the rest of the summer.                   
                            Jim Gold

President's Message - June & July 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Members of CBI,

In mid-June I will have served as your president for 1 year. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments CBI has achieved over the last 12 months and to thank all of those who have contributed time, money and effort to make the year so successful.

Religiously, we have periodically enjoyed guest rabbis and cantors who have provided different insights and music for us to ponder and enjoy. Attendance on Friday nights has been good—but we encourage everyone to attend more often. Our Saturday morning and once a month Friday night continue to be offered. Although all of our special holiday services have been special, the community Passover Service was nothing short of sensational. I believe our religious offerings continue to serve our entire Congregation’s religious needs, as was my commitment a year ago.

Educationally, we have maintained a strong Sunday school program for our youth along with programs for preparing them for Bar and Bat Mitzvah. The quality and meaningfulness of each child’s service reflects the quality of their preparation. Saturday morning Torah Study has been full of lively discussion, debate and humor as the group analyzed the Pirke Avot. The 92nd street Y series has offered great live interviews and the quality is reflected by the fact that attendance has grown from 10-15 people to over 40 per session. 

From a social\social action point of view CBI participated with other religious denominations in both actively helping people and remembering the tragedy of 9/11. We conducted our annual food drive for the Corpus Christi Food Bank and Rabbi Roseman continues to be our community leader and spokesman for social action and interfaith activities in Corpus Christi. How about the evening with Rabbi Alper and the wonderful Mothers’ Day breakfast. All of these activities have added to our becoming a family of families.

In addition to the above listed accomplishments your Board of Trustees has studied and made some very important decisions regarding items that congregants have brought to our attention.

In the very near future there will be upgrades in our temple security that will provide increased safety for our Congregation and staff. The Board has also approved that Mike Trimyer be on duty when Sunday School is in session.

Thanks to the work of Amy Krams and Gary Blum significant improvements are about to take place for upgrading Seaside Cemetery which include a new sprinkling system, leveling of the ground and stones, and generally sprucing up the entire area.   These improvements will be applied to the entire Jewish section of Seaside.

Thanks to Jack Solovey the beautiful wood stars have replaced the holes left when speakers were removed from the front walls of the sanctuary.

Sidewalks around the Temple have been repaired thanks to the support of Sisterhood.

Bill Adams has volunteered his time to replace the worn out bathroom faucets and other hardware that will prevent leaks and save dollars. In addition the ceilings in several bathrooms have been upgraded.

Finally all the above and more were accomplished while maintaining a solid fiscal balance sheet.

In summary, my gratitude goes out to all of those individuals, the Board of Trustees, Sisterhood and the leadership of Rabbi Roseman for making this 2012 such active and successful year. Without all of us working together we could have never been as successful.

As you might expect there is much more to do—that is a future topic.

Please plan to attend the Annual Congregation Meeting at 4:00 p.m. on June 24, 2012. The meeting will take an hour or less and be followed with a barbeque dinner. So, come and join us for this important and fun CBI family event.

          Jim Gold

President's Message - May 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Members of CBI,

I want to begin by thanking everyone who participated in our Special Congregation meeting that resulted in the passage of important amendments to both our Congregation and Permanent Endowment Fund By-laws.  The Congregation By-law changes will allow every member in good standing the opportunity to vote in person or by proxy on issues decided at either Regular or Special Congregation Meetings, while the Endowment By-law change allows past Presidents of B’Nai Israel Synagogue, Temple Beth El and Congregation Beth Israel to serve on the Trust Committee of the Permanent Endowment Fund. In all, over 60 votes were cast representing approximately a third of our Congregation. Thank you all for your support of these important changes.

Over the past year several members have expressed their concerns regarding the condition of both the Congregation Beth Israel and B’nai Israel sections of Seaside Cemetery. Your Congregation Board also recognizes the need for improvements and has been studying what needs to be done, costs and timelines. At this point I can tell you that what appeared to be relatively simple task is much more complex and costlier than anticipated. However, we are taking 2 substantial immediate steps to initiate improvements. First, a new sprinkler system is being installed that will serve the entire Seaside Jewish section and will provide consistent watering during our South Texas dry season.  Second, we will be announcing a Mitzvah Day Project and asking volunteers to meet at the cemetery to help trim and spruce up the entire area. I will be encouraging parents to get their children involved so they can learn the responsibilities we have to maintain the cemetery out of respect for those who have left us.  In addition to these actions that will provide immediate benefits, we are engaged in developing a longer-range plan for making more substantial cemetery improvements and computerizing all the information associated with each burial site. The goal will be to have a comprehensive plan for upgrading Seaside completed this summer and for work to begin soon after.

In closing let me remind you that on May 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm we will have our last 92nd Street Y program for the spring featuring Madeleine Albright. These programs are informative, entertaining and certainly add a cultural dimension not available anywhere else in Corpus Christi. This program is open to the public so bring your friends, neighbors, and high\middle school students for a unique evening at Congregation Beth Israel.

Wishing you the best in the coming month,
      Jim Gold

President's Message - April 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Dear Members of CBI,

In April we have at least 2 extremely important events that I want to address in my monthly column. First, is the April 1, 2012 Special Congregation Meeting that will be held at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary. The only purpose of this Special Congregation meeting is to approve amendments to both the Temple Beth Israel By-Laws and Permanent Endowment Fund By-Laws in order to (1) allow for electronic voting and proxy voting by CBI members at regular and Special Congregation meetings and (2) to allow past presidents of Temple B’nai Israel Synagogue to serve on the Permanent Endowment Committee. By enacting proxy voting and electronic voting every member of CBI including those homebound, travelling, or otherwise unable to make the meeting, can have a vote in Congregation business.  By extending the opportunity for Temple B’nai Israel past presidents to serve on the Permanent Endowment Committee we increase the number of potential members and complete the final step in the merger of the 2 organizations.

In order to pass all three proposals we need approximately 62 affirmative votes! Each family and each individual member of CBI has 1 vote. So I encourage you, if at all possible, to come and vote on April 1, 2012 so we can bring about these critical changes that will make our Congregation stronger.

After the brief meeting please join us for an evening with Rabbi\Stand up Comic Bob Alper who will provide us with an evening of Jewish humor seldom heard in Corpus Christi.

The second event in April I want to address is Passover. As we pour out the ten drops of wine to remind us of the 10 plagues set upon Egypt we might want to remind ourselves that there are many cruelties in the world today that could be considered modern day plagues.

The Haggadah lists several and you may add your own:
        *The making of war
        *The teaching of hate and violence
        *Despoliation of the earth
        *Perversion of justice and government
        *Fomenting of vice and crime
        *Neglect of human needs
        *Oppression of nations and peoples
        *Subjugation of science, learning and human discourse
        *The erosions of freedoms.

Perhaps this year as you pour the 10 drops of wine you might wish to include some of these modern day plagues first in your heart and then even out loud. For it is our fervent wish that these plagues would be cast out and all people could live peaceful, meaningful and quality lives.

                Wishing you the best,
                Jim Gold
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