5781 President’s Message
Wow! What a crazy year it has been and here we are going into the New Year with continuing craziness. As Jews, we serve as a prime example of what Jews have always done; sustain, care for each other, and continue to move forward in the most difficult of times. But Congregation Emanuel is a true living example.
While other small synagogues have had to close their doors due to decreased membership, we have not only kept our doors open, but we have figured out how to continue to remain “open”. True, we cannot be inside the synagogue, our beautiful sanctuary, yet through the leadership of Steve Kerbel, the High Holiday Committee, Wendy Pake (our treasurer), Barry Gordon (Building), and so many others we are open. Open to Zoom, open to phone calls, notes, Facebook, and the most important kind of open – open hearts. We continue to support and collaborate with the Jewish Council of Lake Norman which provides us with wonderful educational and entertainment opportunities. We remember to practice tikkun olam (“repairing the world”) by giving to and helping not only each other but to our community through Fifth Street Ministries, the Arts, voting, and engaging in meaningful dialogue with people of different races and/or religions.
Behind the scenes, Barry, and Wendy, have been working closely with Noah Levine (of the Jewish Community Legacy Foundation) to establish our Endowment Fund/Preservation plan. By continuing to pay our dues and making regular donations (of any size) we will be able to reach our goal of $400,000.00. It is critical to the health of Congregation Emanuel that we make our goal to ensure our treasured synagogue always retains its integrity.
I sit here and chuckle as I recall what Steve Martin said at my Installation dinner. I quote, “This means you are installed for life”. Well, here I am five years later, writing my fifth President’s message, and thinking to myself, “How did I get to be this fortunate?” as I find myself growing ever fonder and more protective of Congregation Emanuel with each passing year. I have a tremendous appreciation for all of you, for without you, I could not continue. There has been the bonus of a greater love and understanding of my personal faith. This has been the catalyst for me to take more classes, attend more webinars, and find new ways to express my faith and gratitude to G-d. This has resulted in allowing me to achieve a level of happiness despite the craziness around us.
Having just looked at my message from last year, I see that we deserve a huge pat on the back for really making tremendous strides in accomplishing the goals I had envisioned. One of our biggest accomplishments has been in becoming a full-fledged member of the Statesville faith community. In doing so, we have shown our tikkun olam along with gaining the support from the other faiths. Naturally, this will be always be my goal each and every New Year. The only other goal is the one I stated earlier, our Endowment Fund. That just leaves my wishes; I wish everyone good health; physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I wish that we remember that we are truly an extended family, being “there” for each other in whatever form that may need to take. I wish we can gather again safely in our beloved synagogue. I wish I could hug you.
שנה טובה ומתוקה/A happy and sweet New Year.