July/August 2022: President’s Message

Shabbat Shalom.
I would like to begin with a special thanks to Shira Rosenblatt. I was thrilled when you replied to my text message that you would be honored to be our installing officer this year. I’ve always admired your dedication to this synagogue. I look forward to working with you this year as you embark on your role as Programming VP. I know you think you’re going to do this for just one year, but we’ll see what happens.

Joan, will you please join me?

Your years as president of Temple Beth Sholom has had its challenges with the pandemic. However, there have been many positive outcomes. You developed the Staying Connected Committee, introduced the Arts Committee, and supported the Safety & Security Committee. I am sure you are now looking forward to spending more time with your family, and especially with your grandchildren. I would like to present this gift to you tonight: In Grateful Recognition of Your Leadership and Dedication to Temple Beth Sholom, President 2020-2022. Thank you for your commitment to Temple Beth Sholom.

As most of the congregation knows, I have been around here for a very long time. In fact, the first time I was on this bimah was 37 years ago for my baby naming. Although I was too young to remember that day, I do remember many other times I was standing up here participating in many family simchas, Purim costume parades, Hebrew School Programs, High Holiday Services, and Sisterhood Shabbat.

While my involvement at Temple Beth Sholom began when my parents were on the committees for the live and silent auctions where I helped design the event flyers, and ran merchandise up to the bimah to be auctioned off, my leadership journey began with Sisterhood when I was Programming Vice President and President. After my roles in Sisterhood, I became the Temple’s Fundraising Vice President, and I just completed my term as Communications Vice President.

Tonight, I am part of a new slate of officers who have made a commitment to carry out the vision of our immediate predecessors, and of our founding members of Temple Beth Sholom. We will continue in their footsteps to open our doors to those who are looking for a warm and caring community. I look forward to working with our seasoned and our new members of the Board of Directors. I will strive to keep communications open; and I will always be available for your questions, comments, concerns, and ideas. If I don’t respond right away, just know that I will get back to you as soon as I can because during the school year, I am an English Learner Tutor working with students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

As with every year at Temple Beth Sholom, fundraising is a necessity in order to meet our annual budget. We have many programs that you are familiar with: our
successful Shredding Events, AmazonSmile, Purim Baskets in partnership with Hebrew School, and of course, Grocery Gift Cards – good for Stop & Shop, ShopRite and Big Y. I look forward to hearing about new (or old) ideas to add to this list of ongoing fundraising efforts for this year. I won’t hesitate to try something new, or to try to bring back a familiar fundraiser.

When my mom stood here and gave her installation speech in 2008, she said, With the rising cost of gasoline, and people traveling less for recreational  activities, we now have an opportunity to provide additional inter-generational and family programs close to home.” Fourteen years later and this statement is very relatable.

Zoom has given us the opportunity to provide programs to all of our congregants both near and far – my favorite being the Book Club (when I actually read the book!). Zoom is not going anywhere, however, this is the time to bring inter-generational programming back into the synagogue.
The recent 75th Anniversary event reminded us what it is like to have our social hall bustling with activity. There was a lot of joy and even some groans of disappointment while everyone played bingo. I’m looking forward to working with all the arms of the temple on ideas to bring our members back here, while also reaching out to prospective members.

Safety & Security has been on the forefront of our minds for several years. Most recently we implemented key fobs for building access. As we continue to make additional security enhancements, one of my goals this year is to strengthen our relationship with Hamden’s first responders. I look forward to working with the Safety & Security Committee on this effort.

Our TBS family is fortunate to have a dedicated, scholarly, and caring Rabbi. Even though I am a millennial, I promise that I won’t make you do any TikTok challenges. But maybe we can do some “Ask the Rabbi” stories for Instagram? I plan on working on my own jokes so I can keep up with you. I don’t have anything prepared tonight because I just ordered a book through AmazonSmile.

I am grateful to have my family here tonight, both in-person and on Zoom, to share in this simcha. As a child, a grandchild, and a niece of long standing members of Temple Beth Sholom, I have learned that it is important to be involved in what you believe in. At the 75th Anniversary, Rabbi talked about you doing your part here at Temple Beth Sholom. I hope this year that this new board will inspire you to find your purpose.

TBS President
Lauren Piscitelle