End of the Year Message from Lauren Isaacs Schimko (TBS President)

December 14th, 2020

Hello Temple Beth Sholom Family and Friends,

With all factors considered, how are we to put the year 2020 into context? It started off as a relatively uneventful January. It is now December and the year is concluding as a time that will go down in history. Who would have thought that what was once unusual (social distancing and wearing face coverings) has now become customary and the norm? Our lives have changed in so many ways over the past 10 months. Our modes of work, school, shopping, socializing and worshipping have been reshaped. Putting all of that aside, perhaps there are some aspects of this that have been positive...we have been afforded the time to stop, think and reflect on what we cherish most and may have taken for granted in some respects...our families, our health, and our friends. Who could have imagined that wearing a mask would be the one thing that we could all do to protect each other and become a fashion statement at the same time? Think about how quickly we have all adapted to this new lifestyle?

Thankfully, with lots of teamwork (from our Clergy, Board, School Staff, Office Staff and volunteers) and supportive members like yourselves, Temple Beth Sholom has adapted our operations towards creating a variety of unique services and programming. Hopefully you have been reading your emails, visiting our website and following our Facebook page for upcoming and ongoing events/activities. There is something for everybody.

Our Religious School is thriving. The Kavod Group donated the funds needed to purchase a curriculum program called “Shalom Learning”. Our teachers were trained and have been delivering and informing their instruction using this innovative learning tool. Thank you to Lori Scott, and Shanna Straut for leading the way, as well as, all of our teachers for creating a positive and constructive learning environment.

Our Nursery School, under the direction of Lori Scott, has been running on a smaller scale. Our parents are invested and the children are learning and socializing. Our teachers are utilizing the most up to date pedagogical techniques and programs. Presently, we are in discussions to explore the possibility of joining the TBS Nursery School with New City Jewish Center’s Nursery School for September 2021. We feel that by combining, both programs will be enhanced, be more attractive to the Jewish Community and be able to maintain financial viability.

As always, we can count on the many arms of our Temple. Our Sisterhood and Men’s Club throughout the year have offered additional programming and much needed funds in order to help us with our budgetary needs.

Rabbi Leiken and Cantor Lebovitz have been servicing our community through pastoral care, as well as, engaging us in “live” and “virtual” services. Our High Holy Day Services, although virtual, were innovative, spiritual and meaningful. Throughout the year Shabbat Services, B'nai Mitzvahs, Funerals, and Shivas have had to be redesigned and rescheduled, as circumstances required. But through it all, the happy and sad times, we supported each other and remained a cohesive community.

Behind the scenes are our Office Staff and Groundskeeper whose dedication to TBS cannot be measured. Much appreciation to Valentina Katsnelson, Susan Goldman and Michael Espinal for keeping us going on a daily basis.

At this point, I would like to discuss the progress we have made concerning our ‘partnership” with New City Jewish Center. We continue to move forward with our “One Community” initiative. Discussions are still ongoing regularly. We have a number of working committees composed of TBS and NCJC working in tandem. To date, there is a Steering Committee, Governance Committee, Education Committee, Finance Committee, Facilities Committee, Programming Committee, Marketing/Communications Committee, Personnel Committee, Legal Committee and Ritual Committee. We have hired a lawyer, David Goldstein, Esq. of Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP (with NCJC) to help navigate the complex process ahead of us. Thank you David Sheichet for being instrumental in the search for our legal counsel. To help get the word out , we will once again be conducting “Parlor Meetings” after the New Year to help keep you all informed in real time....that schedule will be coming out shortly. Please keep in mind that the final decision regarding our “partnership” and the potential selling of our building must be approved by you, our Congregation. Please try to not fall prey to the “murmur mill”. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me.

In closing, I would like to wish all of you all much health and happiness. Thank you for being so kind, patient and generous. As we light our candles during the eight days of Chanukah and as the end of the year draws near, it is my hope that the dark days of 2020 will soon be offset by some much needed brightness, empathy, unity and calmness for 2021.


Lauren Isaacs Schimko

Temple Beth Sholom, President

Visit our website: tbsrockland.org

Like our Facebook page: facebook.com/TBSNewCityNY

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