A Mid-Year Update
Jan 1st 2014

The arrival of January marks the midway point through our year and, as always, the time has passed incredibly quickly. I hope that you are well and that you have managed through the past few difficult weeks, with the ice storm, the resultant power outages and the extraordinary cold.

At Beth Tzedec

It is always busy at our Synagogue, and the closing weeks of 2013 were no exception. The From the Heart event was a very special evening; I thank those of you who attended or otherwise supported this unique event that we produced in partnership with the Canadian Friends of Shaare Zedek Hospital. An article about the evening appears in the Bulletin, but I want to express my personal appreciation to the event co-chairs, Norman Bacal (also very busy with his work as our chair of fundraising) and Bernie Abrams, and to our staff, especially Randy Spiegel and Sheri Federman, whose efforts were critical to making the evening a success. Applause Catering did a phenomenal job.

We opened our doors to the community again this year on December 25th for our fifth annual Family Fun Day. Almost 300 people joined us, about 80 percent of whom were not Beth Tzedec members. They brought their young children for a welcome day of activities, taking the opportunity to experience the family and youth programming we offer. Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped out that day with smiles on their faces, and to Daniel Silverman, Aily Leibtag and Jo Swartz, and the Families Committee led by its chair, Shira Liquornik, for their coordination and planning, and ongoing work to reach out to the families who attended.

Building Improvements and Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

After being closed for a month, the Hendeles Chapel reopened sporting a refreshed look, which includes new carpeting, paint and seat cushions. The Chapel is the most used public space in the building, as the site for services (and other activities) 365 days a year. Be sure to walk in when you’re next in the shul. We are grateful to the Beth Tzedec Men’s Club for its contribution of $14,500 (the proceeds of the first annual Men’s Club Golf Classic which took place last May) which was used toward the cost of these aesthetic improvements.

Robbins Hebrew Academy has also been busy working on improvements to our shared physical space. Last summer, the Lower Hall was completely made over into a new learning commons, called the L’Chaim Hall,dedicated in memory of our late member, and USDS Past President, Harvey Josephz”l. And work continues outside the Warwick Avenue school wing to create a new outdoor play space for the school.

We are ready to share our plans for the renewal of our almost 60 year-old building. As promised, we are inviting you to come hear about the proposals for expansion and renovation. This is in large part thanks to the excellent work of our Renovation Committee, under the leadership of Stephen Kauffman, which, in consultation with the Board, has been refining plans over the past several months. Please join us at one of the two Town Hall meetings set for Sunday, February 9 (at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) to learn about these important plans to refresh the building, adapting it to meet our current needs, and ensuring that we have flexible, up-to-date spaces within it. A key consideration of our work has been respect for and commitment to sustaining the historic and architectural integrity and features of our mid-20th century landmark.

Given the number of our members who winter in Florida, we also hope to bring this important presentation to Boca Raton at the end of February. If you would be interested in attending a Florida presentation, please send me an email so we can plan accordingly.

We’ve Launched our New Weekly E-Newsletter:The Week Ahead

We are very excited to be launching The Week Ahead, our new weekly e-newsletter. This new format includes a version for those who want to know what’s happening in the Little Minyan, is designed to clearly showcase the information you want, and includes easy links to our website to access more detailed information. By pairing the weekly e-newsletter to the website, we offer you seamless, timely information, available on your smart phones and computers. If your email address is not on file with us, you are missing out; now is the time to remedy that simply by sending us an email. 

Within the coming weeks, you will be asked to update your profile and to select your communication preferences. This will be your opportunity to choose the information you want to receive about areas of programming in the shul, based on your interests and needs. For example, you will be able to subscribe to receive updates geared to Young Professionals, Families or Youth, or for Music or Adult Education events, or for periodic news about the Museum or the Library. Your up-to-date member profile will be your key to accessing upcoming web-based services, such as the ability to register for events, buy tickets and donate online.

Terri Humprhies is our new Communications Coordinator

After a few staffing changes in the Communications area, we are very pleased to announce that Terri Humphries has taken on the position of Communications Coordinator which she will officially commence after her return from a well-deserved extended vacation. Thanks to our staff and volunteers for helping to cover during Terri’s absence.

Wishing you a safe winter (which hopefully includes at least a little escape from our terribly cold climate). And I hope to see you on February 9!