Halsted-webWhere has the time gone? It is hard to believe that our congregation is already embarking on the second year in our new synagogue. As we have settled into our new home over this past year, it is certain that we are fortunate to have such a spectacular facility in which to share in our congregation’s life.

Temple Israel’s move from Cass Street to Sterling Ridge is a monumental part of our congregation’s history, and everyone who contributed time and/or financially to the building of our new synagogue should be proud of this accomplishment. Now, we need to focus and dedicate ourselves as a congregation to making what happens inside the walls of our new home monumental as well. Certainly there are still tasks to complete. The Art Committee is working diligently to plan the placement of memorabilia and memorials from the Cass Street building and we look forward to the final disposition of the Cass Street building to be completed this fall. But in a larger perspective, we need to continue the best of our traditions from Cass Street and expand them and also create new ones going forward at Sterling Ridge.

First Friday programing, which began in our last years at Cass Street, has been a great success and now continues welcoming many of our members and their families to Friday evening Shabbat services and then to share a wonderful meal each month. For any of you who have not taken an opportunity to share a First Friday at Temple Israel, you need to this year!

The Hermene Zweiback Center for Lifelong Learning will celebrate its fifteenth year of providing outstanding Scholars-in-Residence and assistance for other educational programs at Temple Israel. During that time, we have been very fortunate to bring a wide variety of outstanding speakers to Temple Israel and our community. The clergy, Dennis DePorte, Debbie Massarano and Scott Littky, working with Speedy and Debbi Zweiback and the Adult Education Committee, will continue this important tradition.

It is with great pleasure that I can announce and express thanks on behalf of the congregation for gifts received from the Sokolof-Javitch family and from the estate of Ephriam Marks, for the construction of the outdoor amphitheater on the southwest side of the building. Work is now underway. The amphitheater will add a new and wonderful outdoor space and venue for worship, lifecycle events, outdoor classroom alternatives, and music events, to list a few of its possible uses.

Looking forward to the New Year, I feel privileged to start my tenure as president of Temple Israel in this wonderful building and am dedicated to work with our clergy, professional staff, teachers, board, lay leaders and congregants to make the life within its walls inviting and meaningful for our congregation. With your help, I am sure we will be successful.

L’ shanah tovah!