KOLOT MAYIM REFORM TEMPLE – JUNE 14, 2020
We began this year on such a high – Rabbi Lynn’s installation weekend – what an extraordinary time that was! It was quickly followed by very well attended High Holidays, indeed even greater attendance than the previous year and that one in 2018 had already exceeded anything in our congregation’s history. During the High Holidays we were grateful again for Rabbi Lynn’s religious leadership, supported by the quiet and generous financial sponsorship of our music by a couple of our members, and the actual musicians themselves who raised the bar yet again. Our goal for this year is to maintain this momentum – one way or another!
We are now 78 members strong and we hope to build on this number during the coming year. People join people, not congregations, so if you know of someone who would appreciate if we reached out to them, please let me or Rabbi Lynn know.
Speaking of Rabbi Lynn, she continues to be an absolute pleasure to work with – and so say all our board members and our volunteers. During this pandemic she has provided critical spiritual leadership and support to many individual members of our congregation, to the board members, and to the congregation.
This year we had, and will continue to have, a Ritual Committee. Liza Silverman and Neomi Summers develop ideas and recommendations to guide Rabbi Lynn and the board. They particularly consider the rituals and observances of our schul and promote religious practices in our homes – all with a view to enhancing the values of Jewish living for Kolot Mayim’s membership.
Pre-Covid our Shabbat services on Friday evenings consistently had 20 to 30 folks attending, especially when preceded by a “Shabbat in the Bag” dinner – another innovation by Rabbi Lynn. On Zoom, attendance on Friday was initially about 20 to 25 people but that has dropped off recently. On Saturday morning, the attendance continued to build, albeit very slowly. Again, this has dropped off since we moved to Zoom. We are looking for your ideas as to how best to rejuvenate our Friday nights and Saturday mornings if we need to stay online in this age of Covid.
Our Congregational Administrator, Sam Margolis, continues to support the board and the committees and especially Rabbi Lynn. He always has the best interests of the congregation at heart and we remain grateful for his “Can Do” attitude.
Our Treasurer, Morris Bleviss, will be making a full report shortly. However, as President please allow me to share with you just how important Morris is to our congregation. Besides the planning, tracking and analysis of each dollar of income and expenditure Morris also deals with the URJ and government forms and reports. He also is my right hand in the annual membership drive – I know I could not do it without him. You may not know this, but Morris also quietly adjudicates requests for dues relief. All this in addition to being a key adviser to both me and Rabbi Lynn.
Speaking of dollars, Gilda Good spearheaded an extraordinarily successful fundraising campaign to purchase Chumashim for the congregation. I know we all cannot wait to use these as soon as we begin in person services and Torah studies. We hope to conduct further fundraising efforts this year and will be counting on Gilda’s community development skills and advice again.
Our Adult Education courses and Lecture Series were successful again this year. Most were able to continue with Zoom. There is a real thirst for adult learning within the context of progressive Jewish values. Rabbi Lynn is loved and respected by all her students, be it within the Taste of Judaism classes or the Introduction to Judaism or the conversion classes or our weekly Torah study group. With Marilyn Wolovick’s help we hope to reactivate the Lecture Series by building on the successes of Susan Edwards and Neomi Summers.
We continued our connection with Aleph Bet Montessori School and brought many children into our holiday events – Chanukah, Purim, and Tot Shabbat. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our Seder. Richard and Deb Weiss stepped up to the plate and made sure Chanukah was a huge success again this year. I think Rabbi Lynn had way too much fun organizing Purim for the children.
Sometimes it is the quiet work in the background that can be most helpful to a community. Some may take for granted being informed of their loved ones’ Yahrzeits but let me tell you, it is a great deal of work and we are so fortunate to have Charlyne Ashford maintaining this list. She is also Gabbai for Shabbat services organizing aliyot and ensuring we have a minyan. Yehudi Freedman is her back up as Gabbai as she has serious family responsibilities too.
Speaking of quiet work in the background, Betty Polsky has a few words to say about the Cemetery Committee’s work.
When Covid hit our community our Care and Concern Chair, Deb Weiss, leapt into action organizing phone tree, cooking and delivery volunteers. Deb, could you please provide your report.
I would like to take a moment to thank the executive committee of our board. I have already spoken about our Treasurer’s leadership. At board meetings, he was very well represented by Yehudi Freedman, and always with a wry sense of humour. Yehudi is leaving the board but has told me I can always call on him if I need him – thank you Yehudi.
Our Secretary, Caroline Hergt, is living proof of the old axiom – if you want something done ask a busy person. Despite working long hours and having many, many familial responsibilities Caroline always keeps us in line by her management of agendas, minutes, and most importantly “To Do” lists. None of us want to be tardy when it comes to her Outstanding Issues with names attached!
What can I say that has not been said about our Past President, Joel Fagan? He never says no and seems to know just when to offer his advice, guidance, or hands-on work. Beside his impeccable sense of timing the man just gets things done! Joel brings a richness of experience, an ability to roll up his sleeves and accomplish tasks, and yet at the same time make well thought out contributions to overarching policy considerations. He is a true renaissance man…and he just had a milestone birthday this week. I know you all join me in wishing Joel good health, much happiness, and many, many more years.
Finally, our Vice-President, Leah Kinarthy and I work as a team. In any given situation we seem to find a balance of creativity and organization. Leah loves to be creative and I love to be organized – we make a good team…and we have fun at the same time. We have now been working together for 2 full years and have never had anything but open and warm exchanges.
The board and key volunteers are a small but mighty team and are grateful for the new volunteers stepping up to help us out as we strive to move our goalposts further down the field. Our goal remains the same as last year, to build Kolot Mayim into a vibrant, welcoming, community of Reform Jews who worship, learn, and play together. With or without Covid, I believe we have the momentum for building on our successes in 2020-21.
Burial Committee/Society Report for Kolot Mayim Annual General Meeting held June 14, 2020
From Burial Committee Chair Betty Polsky
- Members of the Burial Society/Committee are keeping up with the changes in burial procedures and guidelines during the Covid19 pandemic in consultation with Provincial Guidelines, other Reform Congregations and Hatley Memorial Gardens and Sand’s Funeral Home.
- The Burial Society met in January at Selma Linzer and Jack Mayer’s home to discuss and review:
- the beautification project at Hatley Memorial Gardens more particularly the landscaping and Arbour Project.
- Joel Fagan provide an update of the negotiations with Hatley’s Parent Company over the
- Contract for the Arbour Project.
- Society decided that a lawyer should be consulted to review the Contract to see how the Contract could be amended to address some of the questions and concerns of the Burial Society.
- Selma Linzer, Tim Humphries, Joel Fagan and Jack Shalinsky and others were instrumental in finding legal advice for a reasonable fee. McConnan, Bion Law Firm provided an articling student R. Maria Raymond to review the contract and provide valuable advice on how to move forward with Hatley.
- Tim Humphries, Society Treasurer provided the Financial Update and Report showing the Finances of the Society in a good financial position.
Rabbi Lynn Greenhough, Joel Fagan and I in consultation with other committee members updated and revised the Kolot Mayim Jewish Funeral Services Booklet. The Booklet was included in the Kolot Mayim letter sent to members Concerning End of Life Services.
That concludes this Report. For more information on the Society/Committees work, please contact a Society/ Committee member.
Following is the activity of the Care and Concern committee from June 10, 2019 to June 10, 2020. This is followed by a rough summary of activities during the Covid 19 crisis.
|Phone Calls (not including Covid, phone tree calls)||Just checking in or follow up on needs||16|
|Cards /E-mails Sent (Include in this are thank you notes for donations for the Chumashim)||Thank you||91|
|Thinking of you||13|
|Visits (not my forte)||Sometimes with food delivery, sometimes just a long phone conversation||8|
We began our response to the Covid 19 crisis with an initial call to members that Rabbi Lynn thought might be “vulnerable”. Rabbi Lynn also provided a list of helpers and people available for phoning. At this time, I also made calls to all members that live off the island, as just a check in. Two of those have continued to be contacted on a regular basis.
I set up a phone tree with 9 volunteers. Each volunteer was emailed their lists of contacts (5 or 6 members) with emails and phone numbers. I tried to “match” phoners with members – for example if one of the phoners was a new member, I matched them with new members. I sent emails and updates to the phoners and we “tweaked” a couple of lists.
Rabbi Lynn also provided a list of 6 people available for other help. These people have been used to pick up groceries or medications and meal prep and delivery. Many of our members have close ties (either family and/or friends) so this service was not utilized as much as it might have been. We have used those people only about 6 times. Rabbi Lynn did arrange for some other meals.
Donations from the cancelled Seder tickets have been included in the Thank You Notes tally.