June 2007: Kosher Sausage and the Law…

There’s a saying that: “Those who love Kosher sausage and obey the law should not watch either being made.”  I respectfully disagree.  In my view, there is a lot to be said for understanding the process by which things are created.  Finished products and end results rarely tell the whole story. I remember watching “Schoolhouse Rock” on TV as a child and learning precisely how a bill becomes a law.  That cartoon from the 1970’s – now available on YouTube – probably got me through a couple of classes in college, not to mention law school.  And to this day, my understanding of the legislative process stems back to that little “Bill” and his trip to Capitol Hill.

Process often is overlooked, since people are far more interested in results.  Take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for example.  Everyone knows what it looks like and how it tastes.  But breaking down the step by step construction of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes a surprising amount of thought and organization.  So much thought has gone into the process of creating a “PB&J” that there are teaching exercises designed around the task, stressing the importance of communication and order.  And yes, a YouTube search will yield at least a half-dozen videos demonstrating the process.

Where in the world am I going with this?

Each June, two important events take place at Temple Beth Sholom.  The first is the Annual Meeting of the Congregation, which will take place on Tuesday, June 19th.  At the Annual Meeting, chairs of the Temple’s committees, as well as the Rabbi and the President, each report on their activities for the preceding year.  There is no better way to gain a full understanding of the activities of the Temple and its board of directors than attending the Annual Meeting.

The Annual Meeting offers a glimpse – albeit retrospectively – into the process by which decisions are made and projects are undertaken at Temple Beth Sholom.  Too often, congregants only “hear about” votes that were taken or policies that are being implemented, without an appreciation for how we got from Point A to Point B.  And while all board meetings are open to the congregation, few people outside the board ever attend.  The Annual meeting provides an opportunity – once each year – for more people to see a little bit more of how the Kosher sausage is made.

The second event in June that I encourage people to attend is our annual Installation of Officers, which will take place this year during the regular Friday night service on June 22nd.  As important as the installation of new officers, directors and trustees is the discharge of those officers, directors and trustees who have completed their terms of service to Temple Beth Sholom.  We take time at this ceremony to thank those who have given their time to the congregation, and who have shared their wisdom and creativity in helping Temple Beth Sholom to achieve its many goals.  

I hope that all outgoing officers, directors and trustees will attend this year’s Installation ceremony, so that they may be publicly thanked.  I hope, too, that incoming members of the board will attend, as they embark on a wonderful journey of service to the shul.  And I hope that many other members of the congregation will attend, as well, to show their support and appreciation for the efforts of the board.

Many people commit many hours each year to the “behind the scenes” work at Temple Beth Sholom.  Board service rarely is glorious, but often is very satisfying to those engaged in the process.  Please join me in recognition of our Board of Directors at our Annual Meeting (June 19th) and Installation of Officers (June 22nd).