If you did not attend the Annual CBS Congregation Meeting on June 21st, you missed a lot. This is the time when we get together as a Congregation and make decisions that, frankly, impact the future of CBS in very important and significant ways; the decisions as to who will lead us into the future and what our finances are and will be are vital to the continuation of the shul.
By way of brief recap, our slate of officers who were elected last fiscal year were re-elected to serve a second term. Mike Drob was elected to serve as a member of the CBS Board of Trustees.
We also approved the 2018-2019 Budget that was prepared by Elliot Gershenson, David Duchen, and the Financial Affairs Committee; approved by the CBS Board of Trustees; and skillfully presented by Elliot to the Congregation. This year’s Budget represents a well-thought out plan to successfully address and remedy our financial shortfalls while, at the same time, enabling CBS to provide the best quality of services and programming for the Congregation and Community. More importantly, this Budget will help position our shul for great financial stability in the future!
We also heard from Rabbi Teller and his plans, as part of the Strategic Visioning and Planning by the CBS Board of Trustees, to increase spiritual awareness and build religious connections, featuring alternative services that will appeal to a growing interest and demand by those who seek a different approach to religious and spiritual fulfilment.
We learned from Cantor Mark Levine that our Religious School is continuing to grow and succeed during a time when most such institutions are in a decline. Our Religious School leadership, captained by Cantor Mark Levine; Erin Lepselter, our Assistant Director of Education, and the Education Counsel led by Ellen Fiesinger, are to be congratulated for doing such an exemplary job!
We also presented awards to the following individuals, recognizing and thanking them for their tremendous contributions to CBS during this last year: Velva and Fred Levine, Star Donors for their generous financial gifts to the shul; Retiring Volunteer Stars, Lori Rubin, for her work organizing her committee to prepare Ruach dinners each month, Ellen Fiesinger for her work as Education Council Chair; and Grant Caplan, for his work on organizing and providing snacks for the students who attended Religious School on Sundays; and, Hurricane Relief Stars, Rhoda Goldberg and Nancy Picus, for their post-Hurricane Harvey relief efforts on behalf of CBS.
At the Annual Meeting, I gave a lively and vigorous speech focusing on the State of the Shul that went something like this:
A lot has happened during this past fiscal year, a year that has been greatly punctuated by Hurricane Harvey. We showed everyone who we are by our response to the needs of our Community and Congregation. Love.
It was love when Nancy Picus and Rhoda Goldberg called the synagogue office to volunteer to take charge of reaching out to hundreds of volunteers and organize Hurricane Harvey relief for over 84 Congregant families, first ascertaining their needs and, then, gathering and directing volunteers to muck and gut and/or unpack homes devastated by flooding.
The energy and skill demonstrated by our corps of CBS volunteers was amazing and went above and beyond expectation. Love.
It was love when CBS provided resources to flood victims, including massages by a licensed Masseuse and counseling services provided by a Psychologist.
It was love when we opened our doors to Congregation Beth Yeshurun. We prayed with them. We shared their simchas with them. We provided their Rabbis with work space in our office. We shared meals with them on Saturdays following services. Love.
It was love when, in response to our early Yom Kippur Appeal, we raised over $300,000 that enabled our shul to survive the anticipated revenue shortfall that would have resulted from the effects of Hurricane Harvey and allowed many of our suffering Congregants to benefit from dues and religious school tuition abatement for the fiscal year as they got themselves back on their feet.
We are not yet fully past all of the ill effects of Hurricane Harvey and CBS, by and through Nancy Picus and Rhoda Goldbergs’s continuing leadership, are making efforts to provide follow up support to our Congregants who are still in great need.
Love was the driving force throughout this past year, as top line programming for the High Holidays, adult education, Mitzvah Day; etc... marked our busy calendar. Thanks to everyone who volunteered and contributed to made this year a resounding success!
We did it all with Love.
We are particularly blessed to have a Board of Trustees who give their spirit, time, expertise, and energy on behalf of CBS, and who strive to be the best of who and what we are as a conservative shul. The quality of our lives is tremendously enhanced by and through their gifts. Everything they do was out of real love for CBS.
You have to feel outrageously good and proud to be a part of a synagogue family that feels and expresses love the way we do... I know I do. Thanks to all of you, my CBS family, for the opportunity to serve. I look forward to another year as President of CBS!!
Love, Stephan Rubin, still the President.