November 2022: President’s Message

High Holiday Message 2022 – How Can I Help?

I have a confession to make…I watch way too much television. Between attending meetings and events, and, of course, reading books for the monthly book club, you can always find me at home watching game shows, any Marvel Series, all of the home renovation shows, and every…single… Hallmark movie.

But one of my favorite shows is a medical drama called New Amsterdam. It’s about Dr. Max Goodwin, a medical director who provides his patients with the care they require, no matter the cost.

In the show, before someone greets Max, he says to them first, “How can I help?”. This quickly becomes Max’s catchphrase; and every time he says it in an episode, you know that even against all odds, Max is about to make something happen.

So why am I talking about a television show on Kol Nidre? Well, it’s because New Amsterdam reminds me of Temple Beth Sholom.

There are many times when congregants approach the synagogue leaders, and just like Max, we say to you “How can I help?”. We listen to your comments and your suggestions, and we answer your questions.

When you asked how you can sponsor an Oneg or Kiddush for a simcha, we connected you with Eta Kaplan and Andrea Smith;

When you inquired about how to enroll your child or grandchild in the Hebrew School, we connected you with Ellen Dworkin, Beth Messina, and Sandy Steiner;

When you had an idea for a program or were looking for a group to socialize with, we directed to Sharon Rosenblatt and Melissa Hammer from Sisterhood; Steven Sosensky from Men’s Club; Ira Kleinfeld from Adult Education; Marjorie Drucker and Debby Pines from Social Action; and Jessica Engel and Rabbi from the book club.

When you looked for a way to stay connected with our community when you weren’t able to be here in person, we connected you with Judy Rolnick from the Staying Connected Committee.

When you were worried about what would happen to Zoom when the Pandemic was over, we reassured you that Zoom wasn’t going anywhere.

But let’s take a moment to discuss what would happen if the roles were reversed. You often hear “How can I help?”, but how often do you say it yourself? How often do you say it to Temple Beth Sholom?

MORROW LONG: “How can I help?”
LAUREN PISCITELLE: Well, Morrow, I am glad you asked. I know you have experience with security, which is why you’re our Safety & Security Chairperson. You have been helping us with grants. You wrote the $10,000 grant from the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven which is in memory of Arthur and Yvette Eder. This grant, which we have received for the third year in a row, assists us in the weekly expenses for our security guards.

Additionally, you and the Safety & Security Committee helped Karen Kaplan write the application for the Federal Non-Profit Security Grant. Many thanks toKaren for all of her hard work on this grant; and also to Jessica in the office for obtaining the final piece of
information we needed in order to submit the application.

We are still waiting to hear if we have been awarded the federal grant; and if we do receive the full amount, projects will include security film for exterior windows and glass doors; bollards for the front and back entrance of the building; a PA system; additional security cameras; and a generator. We hope that the generatorn will serve a dual purpose – to keep our security measures operating if our power is unexpectedly lost, and allow us to provide a safe place for our community.

HINDA PISCITELLE: “How can I help?”
LAUREN PISCITELLE: Well mom, I know you’re a retired teacher and that you’re also a part-time tutor. I always say that the youth are our future. This year, there will be more programming for families with young children. In addition to the October 9th Sukkot Family Fun Program – which families can RSVP to Ellen Dworkin – another project we are working on is Jewish Education Loan Boxes. These loan boxes will each have a special theme and include activities and picture books for families to take home for a short period of time. So, mom, we could use your creativity to put together our first box with a Hanukkah theme that will be available in December.

DAVID SLOSSBERG: “How can I help?”
LAUREN PISCITELLE: Thank you for asking, David. For the past few years you have been running a campaign called the High Holiday Appeal. The money raised from the High Holiday Appeal makes it possible to expand programming and to keep us all connected. This year’s High Holiday Appeal information was mailed out
last week. If any member mistakenly tossed their envelope, we will be accepting donations on our website – Just click on “High Holiday Appeal”
located under the “Give” tab.

For two years, we have been sharing with you the history of Temple Beth Sholom. We started as a Jewish Community Center, became a synagogue, and throughout the years we maintained an exceptional Hebrew School and a constant membership. During our recent anniversary celebration, we learned about your journey at Temple Beth Sholom – what brought you here and what kept you here. It’s because of all of you that our community has been able to grow and adapt all these years.
If there is one thing you take away from tonight, I hope it is this: Make this the year that you ask someone or even ask yourself “How can I help?” Don’t wait to be asked to join a committee or help at an event. I have shared that we’ll be making some security enhancements and creating educational boxes. These projects can’t be
completed without you. And, if there is something you want to see at Temple Beth Sholom, share that idea with one of our leaders; this is your community, too, and we want to make sure everyone’s needs and ambitions are met. And if you don’t know who our leaders are, there will be opportunities throughout the year to meet and chat with us.

I know that all of you can be like Dr. Max Goodwin, and make something amazing happen here; and I also know that like his medical team, we can achieve more when we communicate, share our ideas, and work together to support one another.

So now we have come to the part of the evening – which will probably be the only thing you actually remember about tonight – the President’s Award. The first award
was presented in 1991 by Jerry Borodkin to Shirley and Sidney Steinbach. The purpose of this award is torecognize a member who has gone above and beyond in
the service of our temple.

This year’s recipient has a long history with Temple Beth Sholom. In fact, this individual’s parents were among the founding members who formed the Hamden Jewish Community Center. This individual had a bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Sholom before the sanctuary we are in right now was built and this individual’s children had their simchas here. You can find this individual making sure our AED is stocked and up-to-date; painting the lines in the parking lot; adding your loved ones’ names to the memorial board in the lobby, organizing the Machzor and Yizkor Book pick-up for the past three years and tracking down any unreturned books; assisting with Zoom during services; constructing the temple’s 20×25 foot Sukkah year after year just as his father did, and continuously asking, “How can I help?”

So, 22 years after his father, Julie, received the President’s Award, I am pleased to announce that this year’s recipient is Larry Hyatt.

Thank you to the following individuals for all of their assistance during the High Holidays: Jonathan Engel & the Ritual Committee; David Margolis and Larry Hyatt
(Technology Team); Charlie Mendlestein & the Ushers (Gary Matican, Marty Rudnick, David Stern); David Margolis, Geoff Kanner, Deborah Wilkenfeld, Greg &
Shira Rosenblatt (Shamashes); Ellen Dworkin, Shira Rosenblatt, Michaela Long, Rachel Scolnic Dobin & the Teen Assistants (Jr. Congregation); Michelle Murphy &
Jo Ben-Atar (Email Communications); Michelle Lakin (Tickets); Morrow Long & Jeff Krupel (Security); and I apologize if I missed a name.

TBS President
Lauren Piscitelle