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Rabbi's Schwartz's Report for the Annual Congregational Meeting

June 17, 2019 11:30 AM | Lance Strate (Administrator)

Congregation Adas Emuno Annual Meeting

5779 (2018-19) Report by Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz

     Each year I submit brief remarks based on the three basic functions of the synagogue as reflected in its Hebrew names: Beit Tefilah (House of Prayer), Beit Midrash (House of Study) and Beit K’nesset (House of Gathering).

     Beit Tefilah: Our High Holiday services, per the usual, were full and joyful, thanks in no small part to the contribution of Cantor Horowitz and this year to a dramatically expanded cadre of Torah and Haftarah readers. We hope all our readers were gratified rather than traumatized, and will return to read this fall.

     Our Sukkot celebration was once again highlighted by our music night; this past year was the best ever, on a Sunday evening with pizza-in-the-hut and a packed social hall, and with special thanks to Peter Hays, Elka Oliver and some of our gifted teens.

     Combining our Simchat Torah celebration with a Family Shabbat service has dramatically increased attendance, and every grade participates by reading a verse from Genesis.

     Our Hanukkah celebration was enhanced once again by an improvisational theatrical performance by Elana Fishbein right in the social hall.

     While Purim did not feature another Lance Strate original spiel, the Megillah according to Hamilton was a rousing success.

     Once again I want to once applaud the parents and students of our school who have made monthly Family Services so invigorating. Four years into our not-so-new policy, it is working, and it is fun. The celebration of seven b’nei mitzvah was indeed cause to celebrate.

          Beit Midrash: Our year-long study of Path of the Prophets and Comparative Jewish Theology two highly recommended books, made for another wonderful Shabbat morning Torah study year. I am grateful for the remarkably strong support given Torah study week-in, week-out, and the vibrant discussion that takes place on a consistent basis.

     Our religious school concluded another excellent year, under the able leadership of the Cantor, the faculty, and the education committee. Our Sunday morning experience, beginning every week with our 9:00 gathering in the sanctuary, is vibrant. Drop by some time to hear our kids singing!

     The Confirmation Class got personal this year: the theme was “What We Believe: Our Reform Judaism.” I was curious to see how personal theology and ethics would fare, but from my perspective we had a very meaningful year, and at Confirmation I am always so proud of our students.

     Our youth group struggled somewhat this year. I’d like to see it strengthen next year, because we have teens who are not involved in the school who are willing to participate.

          Beit K’nesset:  Our social action committee nicely involved many in our congregation this year. While Forest and Andy, the service dogs who were the stars of our Mitzvah Mall two years ago were not here, Mitzie the Owl was (and I have a photo with her to prove it). The souper bowl was even more super.

     Somehow we survived the departure of Virginia Gitter. In this regard I want to single out the great work of Sandy Zornek in communications, and Marilyn and Judy in ritual, with Sandy and Linda organizing our oneg Shabbat recepetins.

     Lance Strate deserves quite a shout-out for the yeoman’s work he has done on a complete redesign of our website.

     It’s been a pleasure to work with our energetic president, Michael Fishbein.

     Before concluding this year, I’d like to pay tribute to Cantor Horowitz. As I wrote in the pages of Kadima:

      As the music leader the role of the cantor (hazzan) is crucial in setting the spiritual tone of our prayer. The cantor uplifts us when we listen to his/ her voice. At the same time, the cantor elevates our own voices when we join in song.

     After five years of dedicated service we bid goodbye to Cantor Sandy Horowitz, and are deeply grateful to her for her devotion to our congregation. In her dual capacity as cantor/educator Cantor Horowitz enhanced the integration of our school families into the life of the synagogue. As a newly ordained cantor serving in a newly created position, Cantor Horowitz succeeded admirably. 

         Last but certainly not least, I am so very proud of the response to our Adas Emuno 150 Campaign. Since our launch at the High Holidays we have already met our initial goal and we have two years to go. We have raised more than $180,000 for the reserves and special programming and needs of our congregation. The generosity of our membership says something special about this place; this holy place.

      I conclude, as always, with my sincere gratitude to the Temple Board, to the Cantor and teachers, and to our “family of families” for all you do to sustain our “assembly of the faithful” from year to year.

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Student Cantor

Joseph Flaxman

Religious School Director

Annette De Marco

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