Presidents speak about what they plan to do in their “first 100 days” during campaign stops and in their inauguration speeches. I am not sure, however, that our cable news networks will be spending any time on the “first 100 days” about the President of a synagogue. But, I am excited that I can share with you my “first 60 days” which have already been a moving experience for me.
I knew when assuming the Presidency that my time in the building, on the phone, reading and replying to emails would increase as would my responsibilities to the congregation as a whole. That said, what has really impacted me is the energy, spirit and passion of our leadership and our congregants. Let me share some of these experiences with you:
• Our ﬁrst “Shabbat at the Shore” for this summer was held in July. I can’t begin to tell you how moving this service was. There were over 130 congregants of all ages, parents with their children, and grandparents with grandchildren. It was a multi-generational celebration of Shabbat with music, singing, sand and sea.
• Shabbat morning services and our new Kiddush luncheon offerings – There is something special about Shabbat at DHJC. Our congregants are leading parts of the service, reading Torah and serving as summer scholars, presenting and teaching on various topics of interest. Our Rabbi brings the communal feeling to Shabbat by personally welcoming everyone, while our Cantor’s singing lifts everyone up, together creating a warm and comfortable setting, even for those who may not be as familiar with the service.
• As part of our new initiative to re-vision our Shabbat kiddushes, we have been trying new and different food options. We have established a new “Kiddush Committee” consisting of Alice Fossner, Bernice Goldberg, Brenda Rosenberg and our Executive Director, Ed Ward. The goals of this committee are to take our Shabbat Kiddush to a new level with enhanced menu options and to engage the various arms of the synagogue. We also invite YOU to bring your ideas and help us as we reinvent our kiddush luncheons.
• I would like to, on behalf of the leadership and congregation, thank Jennifer Feingold, who served as our Kiddush coordinator for the past several years. I know at times it can be a thankless job but she has set the standard on what we will be building upon.
• While the food is really good, the highlight for me is getting to sit down at the tables and chat with our congregants. We have some great people in our congregation who support our Shabbat services. It is interesting hearing your stories of when and why you joined DHJC. I’m looking forward to sharing more time chatting with you over lunch.
• Board of Trustees BBQ – We kicked oﬀ our ﬁrst Board meeting of the new administration with a family BBQ. This gave our leadership, including our new trustees, an opportunity to meet each other in an informal setting. While there was a quick downpour and the food took a little longer to cook, everyone had a nice time.
• In case you did not know, our synagogue does not slow down during the summer. I have had the opportunity to attend many of our committee meetings during my “first 60 days.” Our High Holiday, Adult Ed, and Israel Engagement committees, just to name a few, are energized and busy planning for the programming year ahead. When you get a chance, take a look at our calendar on our website (www.dhjc.org) where all of our programs, meetings and events are listed. There is literally something for everyone!
I could write about many more of the experiences over the first two months of my Presidency but as I noted in my message to the congregation, I along with the lay and professional leadership and clergy want to hear “Your DHJC Voice.” Please take a moment to email us at your [email protected] or come over and speak to us when we are all together at the synagogue or Starbucks or Costco. With your voice, we will again have another fulfilling and successful year.
On behalf of my family, my wife Chloe, my children Devin and Kendall, I wish you and your families a very Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year!