Message from Laura EJ Rose, June 2018

Reflection

As I reflect on the changes and challenges of my 10 years serving on Temple Beth Ami’s Board of Directors, I am struck by two things: how the Board’s heart has always been in the right place; and how collaborative you all — past and present lay leaders--have been in moving our congregation forward. I have had the privilege of participating in the kind of thoughtful collaborative work that echoes the hopes and desires of our congregation’s founding members. Now, at the end of my term as your Temple President, I want to take a moment to share some observations and to say thank you for the many ways that so many congregants have inspired me.

I have experienced the enormous responsibility that being President involves, and I've attempted to live up to your expectations. With that said, I know that I was never alone. I looked to all of you – our clergy, our professional staff, the executive committee, the board of directors, and, of course, the congregation — to accompany me on this journey. I thank you all for offering me your advice, input, and feedback over these last two exciting years.

On the surface, Temple Beth Ami appears to glide along effortlessly, which is a testament to the professionalism of all of the hands on deck. In truth, enormous effort is required to maintain a steady course. My deep thanks go to our Temple’s clergy and professional staff for their commitment to the hard work that is involved in continually creating Temple Beth Ami. I would especially like to thank Rabbi Pokras and Janice Rosenblatt, who serve along with the Temple president as the foundation of leadership for our congregation. What an incredible honor it has been to work so closely with them. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity. Their wisdom, guidance, advice, and calm presence were inspirational to me personally.  

To the Board of Directors: I thank you for your service.  I’ve grown close to many of you. You have provided me with advice when requested, volunteers when needed, and smiles when required. I would especially like to express my appreciation and thanks to Tom Temin and Benita Marcus, our Immediate Past President and Past President, respectively. You taught me that the ability of a Board to come to a well-balanced, acceptable decision on even the most divisive of topics is a skill that few people have, and that many should strive for.

Finally, my thanks and congratulations to our President Elect, Buzz Karpay. I have known Buzz for a very long time. He has given so much of his life and energy to this Temple over his many years of involvement, always demonstrating his eager spirit, his desire for progress, and his ability to lead. Buzz will be an excellent steward for the next leg of Temple Beth Ami’s journey.

Like all my predecessors, I realized many of the goals and dreams about what I wanted to accomplish in my two-year term as President of the Congregation. Of course, there is still much work to be done. My challenge to the incoming Board of Directors, to all of our committee lay leaders, and to every congregant who has a desire to contribute to our community is this:

First: Lead by example. Come to services and congregational events; promote membership in the synagogue; stand at the doorway with a smile and personal greeting for all who visit; emphasize the importance of Jewish education for people of all ages; and, perhaps most importantly, be an advocate for your congregation. The more involved in our community you become, the more others in the congregation will want to be involved.  Excitement is contagious.

Second: Be slow to anger, ready to forgive. There will be disagreements among us — some big, some small.  Let’s not let our disagreements lead to anger or resentment.  Instead, let’s “agree to disagree.” I’ve worked collaboratively with many of you, and I know that when we work together we can do a lot of great things as a cohesive team.

Last: Do not only be wise in your words - be wise in your deeds. If you say you will do something, then roll up your sleeves and get started. Know that when you reach out for support, you will receive it —  just as I did — from the myriad of committed and engaged congregants who desire to be part of the action at Beth Ami.

I can’t finish this last newsletter article without thanking my wonderful husband, Pete, for his endless and loving support of this endeavor, and my boys, Jack and Brian, who patiently watched my calendar fill up with meetings and other Temple obligations and learned to do their own laundry.

I am fortunate to have been able to observe Temple Beth Ami from increasingly closer vantage points over the years—from that of a child, to that of a parent, a volunteer, a trustee, and a Board president—and I can report with pride and gratitude that the closer I have ventured, the greater depth I have encountered, and the more admirable the mission has been made apparent.

B’Shalom