President's Message - February 2014 Print

I wish to take this opportunity to fill you in on actions of your Board of Directors.  Our December Board meeting was devoted to the Rabbinical Search process and as you are all aware, we were quite successful in our goal of finding a rabbi to take over upon Rabbi Roseman’s retirement.  We are greatly anticipating the arrival of Rabbi Ilan Emanuel on July 1.  But as one project ends, many other are begun or continue. Improvements are ongoing at Seaside Cemetery.  Committees, including the Ritual Committee and Bylaws committee are meeting to review and improve their specific areas.  One exciting piece of news: The Board voted to approve two new members to complete the uncompleted second year of a two year term.  We are pleased to welcome Norma Levens and Jeri Kolpack to the 2013-2014 Board of Directors of Congregation Beth Israel.  

I wanted to draw attention to an opportunity available to members in the 18-26 year age group.  We have the opportunity to give special consideration for our young adults to participate in the Birthright “free” trips to Israel through the Union for Reform Judaism.  These trips are usually held during the winter break and summer break, to work around a student’s schedule.  The Birthright program is sponsored by numerous organizations, one of which is our own Union.  Both of my daughters have participated in the past and my daughter Meredith just returned from a ten day trip last month.  The students visit many historical and religious sights, perform mitzvah projects, and spend time with Israelis their own age. Each trip is slightly different, but always includes visits to Masada, the Dead Sea, The Western Wall, and The Holocaust Museum, just to name a few examples.  These trips are guided by adults and the utmost care is taken for their security.  I would love to nominate your 18-26 year old for a place on the summer trips, with registration beginning February 19.  The connection they will feel to their Judaism is just one of the positive aspects and for someone from a city with a small Jewish population; the feeling is even more powerful.  Check out the website: gokesher.org. Please feel free to contact me regarding this wonderful experience.  As the website states: The trip lasts ten days, the memories last a lifetime.  

Suzy Hilliard    
President