June 2016:

Rabbi, Fellow Congregants, Members of the Board of Directors, and Officers,

Thank you. Thank you to those who have completed their leadership terms and who have chosen to spend some time outside of the “limelight”. Thank you to Sy for his leadership over the past two years and hope that he enjoys sitting next to his wife in shul again, something that he hasn’t done in quite a few years because of his (and her) dedication to our community.

Thank you to those incoming Directors and Officers who have agreed to serve our community in a leadership position for the next year (or hopefully more). Thank you to Toby Gillman and her Nominating Committee for agreeing to fill every Officer position this year, a daunting task. Thank you to Rabbi Scolnic for his continued (and tireless) efforts in our community and beyond. I would like to offer a special thank you to our installing officer, Jerry Borodkin. And finally, thank you to my wife, Michelle and children, Shayna, Jacob and Aaron. Despite our routinely full schedule, you have been supportive of my desire to volunteer for various leadership positions at the synagogue and as my responsibilities have grown within the shul your support has not wavered.

While my wife’s family has been actively involved in this synagogue for many decades, I am a (relative) newcomer, having only been a member for just shy of 20 years. Prior to that I attended religious school, became a Bar Mitzvah, and attended MAKOM at Congregation Mishkan Israel. It was there that I had my first leadership role, as President of the local Reform Movement youth group chapter at the synagogue. From there I went on to serve in several leadership positions in a college community service organization, Alpha Phi Omega and as President of the Hillel chapter at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA.

Why do I list these resume items for you? Firstly, for those of our community who don’t know me they serve as a way of introduction. Secondly, I would like to suggest a point for everyone to consider in the year to come. As my Grandfather Norman, Z’’L used to say, “If something is important enough you can find the time for it.” I would ask that we all try to find more time for our religion, for volunteering, for praying, for contemplation.   In today’s busy, ever connected world it can be difficult to disconnect from the flurry of things going on around us. While our community is always looking for those able to commit large amounts of time and energy to benefit everyone, that is not necessary for all of us. If you currently go to one Shabbat service a month, commit to go to two. If you want to learn more about your religion, attend one of our many adult education offerings. If you want to help others, assist with a blood drive event or setting up a Kiddush. If you have a great idea for a fundraiser or a social event please reach out to any of the officers or me. I can guarantee that you will gain a sense of achievement and accomplishment at seeing your idea grow from a simple thought, into a full-grown idea and then into a tangible program. Deciding to commit one more hour or one more service or one more activity is not daunting. Agreeing to commit “one more” can benefit all of us.

In the year leading up to my installation as Temple Beth Sholom President I have been asked repeatedly, “Why are you doing this?” For me the answer is clear – it is important.

I look forward to meeting and working with you over the next year.

Brian Lakin

TBS President