President’s Message

jerryA Year in Review

L’dor v’dor, from one generation to the next. I have been thinking of this phrase that we sing during the High Holidays a lot lately. My mother completed the final stage of her life in December, the last of her generation in our family. Her children and grandchildren were able to gather around, coming from various parts of the country to share stories and let her know how important she was to us and for her to let us know how proud she was of each of us individually and collectively. This was an important milestone for my family and marked the last time these three generations will be together on this physical plane.

At the same time that my family was marking the end on one era, we were planning the beginning of another. As I have previously announced, we are preparing for my son’s wedding. Daniel and Sarah were able to be with my mother and she was able to give them her blessings and regrets that she will not be there in person to see them wed. However, she has passed down core values through my sisters and me, to our children who will in turn pass on to future generations.

Temple Beth El also has a legacy of passing on core values from generation to generation. For the past year we have been commemorating the foundation set down for us 50 years ago, when a group of visionaries established a permanent home for the Jews of Riverside. We continue in this same spirit through our various programs, including the Religious School, worship services, Adult Education, the Child Development Center, guest speakers, musical programs, Sisterhood activities, Social Action, holiday observances, our Gift Shop, and the numerous other activities of our congregation. None of this would be possible without the dozens of volunteers that plan and carryout much of what we do at Temple Beth El.

Thank you for all that you do for our congregation, and the Jewish community.

In order to function as a congregation, we need a core staff to carry out the daily operations for Temple Beth El. I would like to thank our Senior Administrator Elise Haton, our Temple Secretary Diane Eskritt, and our Clergy Assistant Susan Tenenbaum.

A big thank you goes out to our Board of Directors, both the 2014 and 2015 Board Members. It takes a special commitment to step up and be willing to represent the entire congregation and uphold the honor and responsibility that has been entrusted to you. May we continue to work harmoniously together for the betterment of Temple Beth El. ‘

A special thank you goes to our four outgoing Board Members:

  • Lauri Fenton, Secretary
  • Diane Kwasman, Open Arms Director
  • Lyn Yarmoff, Fund Development Director
  • Paula Hermann, Sisterhood Representative

Good people willing to selflessly serve are hard to find, and we truly appreciate each of their contributions to the cause.

Finally, providing the spiritual leadership that is vital to the life of any congregation, I would like to thank Rabbi Singer and Cantor Bob. We are fortunate to have a Rabbi and Cantor who work together in harmony, serving the needs of our community.

Looking back at the past year, I had three goals that I wanted to accomplish and am happy to report that all have been achieved. First, I wanted to complete the remodeling of the sanctuary. The accessible bimah and new seating configuration not only allow for ease of access, but increased flexibility which allows for greater use of the facility as was demonstrated by the 50th Anniversary Gala. Also, the long awaited bimah furniture is currently under construction and should be in place in the not too distant future. Second, I wanted to ensure the financial stability necessary to keep our Rabbi in a full-time capacity. I would like to take this opportunity to announce that we have come to an agreement with Rabbi Singer that will keep her here at least another five years, making her one of the longest serving rabbis in the history of our congregation. Finally, I wanted to increase participation in the activities offered at Temple Beth El. Throughout the year we have held a wide variety of events that have been well attended, giving everyone many opportunities to join our community. As the saying goes, “Neither rain, nor heat nor gloom of night keeps Temple Beth El from having a good and worthwhile time.”

In 2015 we intend to continue to ensure the financial stability of the congregation, and to provide a wide range of meaningful activities to meet the needs and interests of our members, thus sustaining the values firmly established by our previous generations.

May the coming year be filled with happiness, success, and shalom.

Jerry Sturmer