President’s Post – June 2020

With Love and Gratitude

Eric Imley & Gale Swartz, Co-Presidents

We thought we’d start our last article as Co-Presidents with a quick TBE Covid-19 response update (this article is being written in the middle of May). In late March we formed and continue to be in regular contact with our TBE Medical Committee, comprised of Drs. Marvin Belzer, Tracy Imley, and Jeff Riker. We are investigating how to operate our building once we are able to start meeting in person again. What are the new cleaning processes need to be, how do we manage safe distancing, what will we need to do to operationally to prove a safe and clean TBE physical home to our collective TBE family? What are the questions do we need to ask, of whom, and when? We are monitoring government and Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) guidance regarding how to operate on a day-to-day basis. URJ summer camps have been closed for 2020, and all in-person gatherings are currently moved online or canceled till further notice. What is clear is that the chances of several hundred people gathering in our sanctuary in mid-September appears to be low. The top priority of lay leadership and clergy is the safety of our community and we are using that as our principled guide in making these decisions.

We have received many questions about High Holy Days, and we have formed a dedicated task force under the leadership of rabbi and cantor to look at options to vision what High Holy Days in the time of Covid could look like and evaluate different choices to ensure that the experience is intentional, relevant, spiritual and to enable completion of the mitzvot and processes of t’shuvah in ways that are traditional, albeit delivered in an innovative way.

Our Presidency has been three years of transition and change, much joy, a lot of celebration, a little sadness, and we were faced with challenges none of us could have predicted. We have facilitated rabbinic and educator transitions, and hired an outreach expert. We engaged initiatives to implement additional security enhancements to our building (thanks to Bob Fenton), added security guards in response to your clear message at last year’s annual meeting, conducted a recent security evaluation and feedback survey, we have a preschool tenant, and have managed our finances to stay within budget. Some other initiatives are the Open Tent Project, a new cell phone tower, elevator repair (fundraising), and a leadership class. This is a fairly extensive list that was only possible because of all of the many hands and minds that brought these things to fruition. We certainly didn’t do this alone!

We are eternally grateful to this wonderful, loving community for giving us the privilege to serve as your first Co-Presidents. Our sacred partnership with our Clergy and staff is more than wonderful and to whom we own many thanks. We are humbled by the strength and closeness of the TBE family and appreciate all of the support, feedback, wisdom, and enthusiasm that was offered to us. We revere the leaders that came before us and are excited for the new leadership that will follow us. We feel confident that you will give the future leaders of our community all of the encouragement, validation, and support that you gave us and TBE will continue to thrive into its second 100 years!