October 2013: From TBS President Bryan H. Pines
Welcome, L’Shanah Tova and good evening. I would like to wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year. I am honored to serve as President of Temple Beth Sholom, and to have the opportunity of sitting on this Bimah these past four years. I would like to thank and praise the officers, committee members, and all the dedicated volunteers who represent the various arms of the Temple, for their enthusiasm and commitment. Special praise to Rabbi Scolnic and Cantor Simon is extended for all the preparation and care taken to ensure the wonderful High Holiday services. The services are extremely special with our talented members who have read Torah, Haftorah, and volunteered to daven parts of the service. I would like to welcome our new members and families and thank them for choosing Temple Beth Sholom as their house of worship and becoming an important part of our family.
The Kol Nidre melody that will be chanted by Cantor Simon this evening is part of a body of music known as MiSinai melodies that emerged from Germany prior to the 15th century. It literally means “from Sinai” since the sound is so majestic it was believed to have been brought down from the mountain with the Torah. There are no other melodies that can be substituted for these tunes because they are considered sacred and sanctified. When I started coming to daily minyans six years ago I became fascinated with studying nusach. The tune used by the Cantor when reciting a prayer is special to the particular service. For example, the Friday evening Shabbat nusach is different from the morning service. There is a special nusach for the evening service of Yom Kippur, and a different nusach which is used for most of the other High Holiday prayers. Tomorrow afternoon you may appreciate the special nusach at the beginning of the Ne’ilah service. It is wonderful to have Cantor Simon lead our congregation during the High Holidays. Come join us during this New Year and you may be surprised where your curiosity may lead you. The study of Judaism is fascinating and is a life- long experience. We have the best adult educational programs in the greater New Haven Jewish community. If you make a commitment to attending Shabbos services, I am confident that you will gain appreciation for both the art and science of prayer. Your voice will make our song stronger. Many members achieve the greatest pleasure by leading a service, or reading Torah. What I appreciate most is building friendships with other members who have similar interests. The High Holy Days are a time for introspection and critical self evaluation in order for us to find areas in our lives for growth and change.
Hopefully, you will be more enriched this year by becoming more active in Temple Beth Sholom’s programs and activities. We would love to celebrate Shabbat and Yom Tov with you. Once again, our year is filled with outstanding programs planned by the Men’s Club, Sisterhood, Hebrew School, and Adult Ed. The L’Chaim series of lectures is a unique program developed by Temple Beth Sholom to benefit the Jewish Community of Greater New Haven. We are proud to provide enrichment to our aging population by specifically addressing their needs.
Volunteers are also welcome to participate in the Social Action Committee. Our program is the exemplar for all others to compare. I am proud to be associated with such devoted and compassionate individuals who improve the lives of families in need throughout the greater New Haven County. Their voices are filled with the melodies that are inherent to Jewish character.
Please remember that this year’s High Holiday Pledge is crucial to making these programs possible. Membership dues and school tuition cover only a fraction of the cost of our programming. The financial pledge that I am asking you to make will be applied to our general operating budget. In anticipation of your contribution, the projected balance sheet created in the last fiscal year, relies on these donations. This will pay our mortgage, utilities, retain our staff, run our programs, and educate our children. Consider the amount that you have been comfortable with in previous years, and then find room in your heart to share your good fortune with our Shul.
At this point I would like to present this year’s President’s Award. It is my pleasure to honor a member who has held many executive positions at Temple Beth Sholom such as Communications VP and Education VP. Leadership and organizational skills are balanced with passion and professionalism. This inquisitive mind developed while studying everything at home by placing it under a crude microscope. It is this attention to detail which has led to awards and accolades in the field of education. After moving to Hamden, she became a science teacher and earned a Master of Teaching at Quinnipiac University and a sixth year degree from the University of Connecticut. As a science teacher in North Haven she became Teacher of the Year. Under her guidance as an administrator at Barnard School in New Haven, the school has won awards for Green Ribbon Schools and Magnet Schools of America. Presently, we are blessed to have her leadership on the Social Action Committee. Education and Social Action are the core melodies and themes that are basic to Temple Beth Sholom. I would like to honor Marjorie Drucker as this year’s President’s Award recipient. Your voice is clear and true. Thank you, Marjorie, and Gary, for sharing your family with TBS, and your devotion to Tikun Olam.
Bryan H. Pines