It's truly an honor to serve as president of Temple Beth Sholom. TBS has meant so much to my family and I for the past 20 years. Now it is my turn to give back to TBS for all it has given to me. My TBS journey began when Curt and I enrolled our daughter Shayna in the two year old program in the Early Childhood Education Center. If only TBS had daycare at that time, we would have enrolled even sooner! We quickly met other families with young children and began to form lasting friendships that remain in place to this day. We attended tot Shabbats, holiday celebrations and family learning programs. As Shayna and our younger son David got older, they "graduated" by attending religious school and Hebrew high school and participating in innovative and experiential learning. Curt and I attended interesting programs and services for adults. I learned that Shabbat services are really something special at TBS. The give-and-take format of the Torah service led by our talented clergy allows everyone to participate in stimulating and intellectual discussion. I saw that TBS members, clergy and staff make education at all ages and stages a top priority. I am grateful to TBS for giving our children the highest quality Jewish education and for enabling Curt and I to continually learn something new.
However, TBS has meant so much more to my family beyond education. We have found a caring community of wonderful people. Our dedicated clergy, staff, and volunteers create a special place to celebrate in moments of triumph and a haven in which to find comfort in times of hardship. Aufrufs, baby namings, preschool graduations, Dalet promotions, bar and bat mitzvahs, confirmations, volunteer recognitions, and birthdays -- TBS knows how to celebrate the good times! What has made these happy occasions so special for us is the community of people we have shared them with and the meaning that has been infused in them by our clergy and staff. We all know that it's easy to celebrate the good times. The true test of a caring community is support during the not so good times. Our TBS family is there for each other when life gets difficult. Our clergy, daily minyan and Hesed committee provide comfort and assistance during challenging times. I don't know how I would have gotten through the illness and loss of my parents and mother-in-law without the support of our clergy and the warmth of our TBS community. I realized how important it is to have a caring community behind you to prop you up when life beats you down.
The other thing I realized is that when you volunteer at synagogue, you get back so much more than you give. Yes, it's really true! My volunteering at TBS began with the Young Members Group and grew over the years to vice president positions and finally to my current role as president. Do yourself a favor by volunteering -- You will work with great people, learn leadership skills, make new friends and be inspired. I promise. You can craft policy on TBS school boards, ritual or budget committees. You can plan exciting TBS events or volunteer with the Home and School Association, Social Action or Hesed. There are so many social groups to join: Sisterhood, Men's Club, Young Members Group, Hazak. Even if you attend a couple Torah study sessions or book club meetings, play on the TBS softball team or in the mah jongg tournament, or go to our visiting scholar programs, you will feel more connected to TBS and want to come back for more. If you have an idea for a new program or group that we don't have, let us know -- we can start one! By getting involved in our synagogue, TBS will become a family to you, and your involvement, in turn, will strengthen our family of families. That's what happened to me and why it's my privilege to give back to our very special TBS community.