President’s Message – July 2011
In keeping with my tradition of seeking inspiration for these messages from the next book of the writings beyond the Torah each month, July’s book is 1 Samuel, a book that discusses the development of the monarchy under the guidance of Samuel. The first chapter of the book tells of the birth of Samuel after his mother, Hannah, prayed on the steps of the temple in Shiloh with such abandon for a child that the priest Eli thought that she was drunk. Hannah promised that she would dedicate her son to the service of the “Lord of Hosts” if granted her wish. After he was weaned, Samuel was brought to Eli’s temple to begin a life of service to the community. If you are interested in more details about this story, please come to Rosh Hashanah services for it is our first haftorah reading of the new year.
As spring came to a close, our community celebrated the accomplishments and the retirement from our board of directors, with our regrets, of key members of our congregational leadership – Marian Wolf, Ellen Goldberg, and Nora Stein – and welcomed new directors – Mitzi Horowitz and Gerry Berkowitz. We are still hoping to welcome another director to the board. (The board meets on the third Wednesday of each month from 7 – 8:30 pm. If you might be interested in more participation in our community, please contact me.) Our annual meeting on June 15, where we discussed the proposed budget for our next calendar year clearly developed and presented by Doreen Simonsen and shared ideas about the future of several initiatives in the coming year, preceded a celebration of donors and new members on Friday evening, June 17. During Shabbat services on June 18, we shared the joy of the naming of Eran and Noga Shemer’s new-born daughter, Aviv, and enjoyed Merle’s chanting of the haftorah, which told of two spies’ optimistic report to Joshua that there were supporters in Jericho for the arrival of the wandering tribes into the promised land.
The greater Willimantic region is not the promised land but it is hoped that at least some of your dreams have been fulfilled here. Please look to our community for support of your dreams. One would be surprised about the connections we have in the community. I am hoping that we will have more informal gatherings so that we might get to know each other better. There is a lot of sharing in the kiddushim – the refreshments after services. At our annual meeting, we discussed a proposed Chinese-themed celebration of the winter and game night on the 5th night of Hanukah, Saturday, December 24 – which should be another opportunity to make important community connections. One does not have to dedicate oneself completely to the community, but participation will bring rewards in learning, in service, and support in an ever-changing world.
Throughout the summer, please look to your email for announcements about gatherings and celebrations, besides our weekly Shabbath services.
Best wishes to you and yours for a refreshing, comfortable, healthy, and peaceful summer.
David Stoloff, 2011-2012 President, Temple Bnai Israel, Willimantic, CT