Lesley Brooks Rosh Hashanah Speech

Posted by: Lesley Brooks - Co-President on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Shana Tova. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, it’s our privilege to welcome our members, your families and all of our guests to Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael. For those that don’t know, Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael means the House of the People Israel and it’s a wonderful thing when our house is full of people.

We are Lesley Brooks & Ilene Shewitz, co-presidents of the Board of TBAY.  This is the first time our community has elected co-presidents.  Don’t worry…just because there are two of us, we promise not to speak twice as long!   Just a few interesting tid-bits about each of us.  Many of you know our families.  Ilene’s husband Peter and 2 children, David and Stacey, have been members of TBAY for 25 years.  David, my husband, and 3 children, Lexie, Noam, and Talya, have been part of this community for 16 years.  Each of us and the members of our families have been involved in various committees and events over the past years and our kids have attended the ECP (Early Childhood Program), Shorashim (our Religious School) and/or Tichon (our Teen Institute program).

Having just begun our term, we have many goals in mind, some short term, some longer term. In the immediate short term we continue to make necessary repairs to our building; the parking lot, the roof, and the HVAC system to name a few.  We are moving along slowly with these repairs because we are in need of funding to complete the projects.  If you picked up a copy of our annual report, you can see that last year dues only contributed about 22% to the budget of running TBAY.

Other goals involve all of you.  We want to listen when our members have ideas or when they feel things can be enhanced; a few notable things to mention:

  • As our community brings in new families we realize there are various perspectives about our weekly Shabbat services. We want your ideas.  We plan to talk to various groups and get ideas about how to keep our services engaging and exciting. 
  • Growing our Religious School Scholarship fund. As you’ve read in the recent bulletin, we began this fund in the Spring to ensure that we can provide a Jewish education to everyone.  Our goal is to reach $10,000 by the end of this year to make sure that we can help all applicants in need.
  • Expanding opportunities to be involved; play an instrument? Join our TBAY band. Interested in various ways to meet other members? Join Women’s League or Men’s club.  We’ll tell you in a few minutes how we’ve made it easy for volunteers to join a committee.

Beyond these goals, there are other great things that are ongoing that we want you to know about.  Our very successful Early Childhood Program, with kids from 2 months through K, has a current enrollment of 84 children and growing.  The growth has come from word of mouth, and the ideas and oversight of our wonderful ECP director Sandy Newman and our Executive Director Tracey Shenker.  In addition, we’ve been lucky enough to be the recipient of a nice donation from a former member’s estate which will enable us to remove the house in the back and add a My SplashPad and garden for those children attending ECP in the summer.

Our Shorashim Religious School program current has 74 students with so much exciting programming happening.  Something new this year is a Hebrew enrichment program for grades 4-6.  It will move a bit faster than the regular track curriculum and incorporate some modern spoken Hebrew, song lyrics and short Israeli videos. 

We have a very active Kadima program for our pre-teens and teens in grades 6 – 8 and our USYers have joined up with their peers at the Millburn Temple.  The joint chapter was elected regional chapter of the year for 2017.


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