Dear TRT Family,
My journey over the past 19 months has made me more passionate about our congregation and about living life as a proud Jewish woman.
I decided to read what I had written just a year ago for the newsletter, since I thought it would help me reflect and better relate to each one of you as we go through a sea of change. Even on July 1, 2019, it was clear that things were about to change; however, there was no way to predict what 2020 would bring to our congregation, families, and nation.
The last year has served as a test to our strong connection. And we passed! Due to the wonderful volunteers who poured forth their heart and soul, we were able to enjoy ALL of our programs through a different medium: from weekly services, to school, to the Gala, and the High Holy Days and beyond.
The message is clear: Jews just don’t give up when things get tough.
And now, we are starting yet another journey together.
As I started my second year as Temple President, I witnessed the pandemic’s impact on our spiritual home and within our families. I wanted to keep an open mind about our options. I asked myself; How can I lead a congregation without enough information to guide our decisions? I found Rabbi Disick’s guidance extremely helpful in exploring the tougher questions as well as the possibilities for our future. Which is exactly why we chose an interim rabbi.
Our talented individuals who served on the task force studied every path diligently. They collected information, met with other parties, and discussed viable long-term solutions for our congregation. I couldn’t be more impressed with the caliber of individuals who served on this team and I hope you will join me in thanking them: VP Andrea Kazin, Past President Bob Dollinger, Past President Brion Feinberg, VP Dan Schleifstein, Past Treasurer Joel Schleifstein, Treasurer Lee Adasko, Board of Director Liz Feldman, Past President Marc Willner, Education Chair Marge Stevens, and Finance Chair Mike Esquenazi. Our task was emotional. No one prefers change, and yet the leading thought was, which path is the best for our congregation?
After presenting our recommendations to the Board of Directors, they unanimously voted to start formal integration conversations with Temple Shalom. Since then, we found the Temple Shalom leadership team not only to be equal partners, but kindred spirits as well, who believe and live by the same Jewish values of the Reform movement as we do. We are only five weeks into this process and I can say wholeheartedly that new friendships are forming. With Rabbi Malinger embracing and promoting the idea of creating a new congregation, it’s clear that this choice is mutually beneficial to both our communities.
And this is where you enter.
We spoke with our founders and many of them, as sad as they are to leave the TRT building behind, are very supportive of the next steps for our congregation. There are many details to be worked out as we chart our new future as a congregation from now until July 1, 2021. Your creativity, your thoughts, and ideas are welcome in this process.
The canvas is clear. Let’s paint it together.
Looking forward to your participation with our teams.
Tmima Grinvald, Temple President