Hi, I’m Buzz Karpay, your new Temple President. My wife, Lynn, and I are long-time members of Temple Beth Ami and, if you have been at the Temple with some frequency, there is a good chance you have seen me even if we don’t know each other yet. If that’s the case, I hope that the next time we see each other in the building, we both have a few minutes to say hello and introduce ourselves to each other.
Each year Temple Beth Ami has a service recognizing our graduating high school seniors. The students have a chance to share their thoughts during the service about why they stayed in our Machane (Religious School) program all the way through high school. As I have listened to these students over the past few years, I realized that there is a common thread. Almost every single graduating senior mentions the community as a significant factor in their choosing to remain in TBA High. They have built and nurtured friendships from the time they entered school. That makes me proud of Temple Beth Ami.
Our adult members are attracted to Temple Beth Ami for reasons that are similar to those of our graduating high school students. Community has been a common theme during our Vision 2020 strategic planning effort, expressed through comments we have received from hundreds of congregants over the past few months. While there have certainly been comments about other aspects of Beth Ami, it is quite clear from the feedback that the warm, caring, inclusive community is one of the strongest bonds that our members feel. That should make us all proud of Temple Beth Ami.
When Lynn and I joined nearly 40 years ago, I didn’t realize that Temple Beth Ami would be so much more than a place to pray and study. The congregation was only about 250 families then, and we both quickly became active in Temple activities and on the Board. It wasn’t long before it felt like we knew nearly everyone in the congregation, and we started celebrating with our new community. We have celebrated the births of our children, b’not mitzvah, confirmations, high school and college graduations, weddings, and now the births of our grandchildren. We have also found support from you during difficult and challenging times. We still come here to pray and study. But even praying and studying are enriched by our being surrounded by what is now our extended family – all of you.
There has never been a better time for you to become more involved – or more involved – in Beth Ami’s activities. Our Vision 2020 strategic planning initiative has already involved hundreds of you through house meetings and other information-gathering forums. We currently have research teams taking the information you provided, combining that with other sources, and preparing to present the results of their research. These results will be made available to the entire congregation as they become available and will be thoroughly discussed at Board meetings before any action is taken. I want to remind you that Board meetings are open to the congregation and I encourage you to attend our September, October and/or November meetings at which the research will be discussed. Specific topics for discussion at each meeting will be sent out in advance. Please come, join in the discussions, and make your voice heard.
I hope that during my term as President I can meet those of you whom I do not know and encourage you to become more involved. I would like you to feel the same sense of attachment, pride, and satisfaction that I have for our sacred community. Through increased involvement in the Temple, I believe you will increase your joy and satisfaction.
Like me, your Board is here to serve the Congregation. If you ever have questions, concerns, or feedback of any kind, you should always feel free to contact me. I look forward to working with the Board and with you over these next two years. I thank you for putting your trust in me.