President’s Message

Posted on August 1, 2021

Dear Friends,

Even with Covid, I could not have foreseen all the challenges we faced this past year. As everyone patiently waited for a vaccine and some return to normalcy, the Board of Trustees had to deal with a lot of unexpected twists. From the plaster falling from our ceiling, to the passing of our beloved Debbie, to the roof leaks, to the re-opening of in person services, to more plaster falling from the ceiling, to the closing of the building again, the Board has been called on again and again to devote many hours to fixing all the problems while still moving us forward.

As always, thanks to Rabbi and Cantor for their continued guidance through it all. Our video services and content have kept us connected. Those who sign on to our streaming services will regularly see a large on-line crowd, including people who have temporarily or permanently left our area. We will continue to broadcast all services on line even when we return to in person services. If you haven’t yet, I invite each of you to sign on, participate virtually, and try to commit to signing on to a service periodically. I think you will find it very fulfilling.

Many of you are aware that Jane Messinger immediately offered to help with the office upon Debbie’s passing. Jane helped get our day-to-day operations caught up (which was no small feat), continued on to help train our newest office member, Sally Strayhall, and has continued part time helping to support the office. I know first-hand that without her, our operations would have come to a halt. I cannot thank her enough.

Our worship committee has been very busy. Led by Debbie Troy, the committee has met extensively to discuss our services and the re-opening to in person services. I can’t imagine any year where this committee has needed to meet more frequently, constantly adjusting to the new findings and regulations regarding Covid, and preparing for in person services. We intend to have in person services for the High Holidays, but since the current Covid-protocols that we’ve implemented can change at any time, please continue to look for updates as we get closer.

Unfortunately, our building faces serious breakdown issues at this time. The roof and exterior masonry can no longer be just patched up. The Board has voted to do a much needed extensive, and expensive, repair that will deplete our funds significantly.  In the upcoming weeks you will see the scaffolding on the exterior. When the roof repairs are complete, we expect that all those leaks we have seen will go away, and the exterior will look like new and keep us protected for years to come.

The integrity of the interior plaster on the ceiling has been an ongoing issue and continues to worsen. As the first piece fell, we all hoped that it was just an isolated problem. As the second piece fell, and the ceiling showed signs of further cracking and paint peeling, it is clear that the ceiling problem is all over. We believe that the little leaks particularly have weakened the plaster over time. Our experts do not believe that it is safe to use the sanctuary for fear of another piece of plaster falling. The Board has reviewed our options and decided to hire a company with significant experience stabilizing plaster throughout the country. The entire ceiling will undergo this restorative process. It will give us the peace of mind that the entire ceiling is stable and safe and that there are no hidden dangers. We all feel very lucky that no one was in the sanctuary when the other pieces fell.

Many thanks to Joel Zitofsky. As head of our building committee, he does most of the work to evaluate all the building issues and find the right people to fix the issues. Due to his ability to get the projects moving quickly, we are still hopeful that we can have the roof stabilized in time for the High Holidays. That is an unbelievable possibility considering that just a few weeks ago, we didn’t even realize we had this problem.

In looking toward the High Holidays, we are hopeful to be ready to use our Temple. However, we are making contingency plans just in case. The JCC has emphatically welcomed us with open arms to do anything needed to make their facility available to us in case we need it. Thank you to Gary Bernstein and everyone involved for all you do for us. We continue to expand our partnerships with them, and it has proven to be a huge benefit to our Temple.

With less than a month until the High Holidays, it is unthinkable that we still have so many uncertainties.

Ideally, we will be in person at our Temple, but at any point we may need to change locations to the JCC or if Covid takes a wrong turn, cancel in person services all together. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to keep looking for updates even within the week before services.  If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive our email notifications.  You can also check the website or call the office.

Now it is your turn to help. For the High Holidays, we are requiring reservations and proof of vaccination in advance of attendance.  Please, please (please, please…)  make your reservations as early as possible to help us with planning, set-up and logistics.

And as every good President should ask, should you find a few extra dollars in your bank account this year please send it our way because now is a time that your spiritual home needs it most.

To end on a lighter note, in looking ahead to the new year, once we get the building repaired, and hopefully have the most serious times of Covid behind us, we will be getting ready for a long awaited get together to celebrate our 100th anniversary next year. See you all there.


Jeffrey Yelen