Rosh Hashanah 5778 message from President Ken Goss:
I can hardly believe it has been one year since last Rosh Hashanah when I was able to address the congregation. I thanked you then for allowing me the opportunity to serve this shul. Now after one year I can truly say it is a honor and privilege to help lead Adat Shalom. After working with the people here for a year, I feel I am part of a family of leaders. We are fortunate to have clergy and staff who care so much about our shul, its members, and the community to which we belong. The lay leaders spend countless hours to constantly help us improve. We have a plethora of activities throughout the building; almost every day of the week there is something going here.
This past year we embarked on a strategic plan to guide the shul for the next three to five years. We talked with a cross section of people who provided input and comments. We heard from our clergy, staff, Sisterhood, Men’s Club, and other affiliates. We discussed topics such as educational programs, social activities, fundraising, even religious philosophy and practice. We examined our current financial situation and stability, and discussed how we can ensure our fiscal stability in the future. The condition of our building was a major topic, being an 80,000 square foot facility constructed more than forty years ago. Under the leadership of Jeff Supowit, we are in the final stage of review and prioritizing, and we have already begun to implement some parts of the action plan. We realized that we needed to concentrate on reaching out and connecting to our younger generation of members, both with and without children.
Many of you have already met Michael Wolf who joined the shul this past summer as our Director of Spirituality and Outreach. Michael’s responsibilities are varied. In addition to directing the minyanim and being the ba’al korei (Torah reader), he is reaching out to young families and members. He has started to created relationships and programs with member families whose children attend our Adat Shalom Beth Achim Learning Community, and the hundred member families whose children attend Hillel Day School.
All phases of education are a high priority here, formal and informal, youth and adult. We listened to our congregants, and heard what they feel is important. We brainstormed with our educators on how to serve those needs. When the other Conservative synagogues decided they were not going to have a structured high school program, we felt that this age group needs to be connected to the shul. So this year we have Nosh & Drash on Monday nights. Across the country, connecting to high school students is a challenge. They have such hectic schedules, are concerned with grades, test scores and college acceptance, but they are still our children and need a foundation. We made that commitment, and will keep working to provide a quality experience.
We engaged some firms to perform a building assessment, so that moving forward we can create an action plan for repairs, replacement and maintenance which will minimize unexpected surprises. We will be reviewing the building from top to bottom, both inside and out. The heating and cooling system is the original from forty years ago. We will assess the cost of replacement with energy efficient units. We are also researching the cost of changing the lighting to LED fixtures. Not only will these be cost effective and environmentally responsible, it will also minimize our costs for the labor to replace the bulbs.
Our Sisterhood, Men’s Club and all the affiliates work hard to make Adat Shalom inclusive, fun and heimish, a place where friends and family come together to share experiences. Check out all the upcoming activities in the Voice, make sure you sign up for our email distribution, and read the activity flyers. We want everyone to get involved and experience what a beit knesset, a house of gathering, can offer. We are looking for new ideas and programs. Please help us! If you have an interest, chances are good that others have the same or similar interests. We want to be a central part of everyone’s lives.
Last year our synagogue appeal was to fund new chairs. People stepped up and were generous. Some of you are asking, “So where are the chairs?” There were many who had comments about the sample chairs we had on display last year. We listened to your requests. We went back to the drawing board and found a major chair manufacturer located here in Michigan. They were able to produce a chair that has a larger seat, sturdier support padding, and arms that are connected to the frames, all at no additional cost. These chairs had been scheduled to arrive just before the holidays, but delivery got postponed. This year, please do a mitzvah again, and be generous.
In 2018, Adat Shalom will be celebrating our 75th anniversary. We will be having a major event next fall. More information will be available after the holidays. It will be a wonderful celebration of a rich and vibrant history.
I hope you have the same feeling of pride that I have when I enter this building, seeing people of all ages with smiles on their faces, enjoying being here and participating here at shul.
I want to thank Karen and my family who are always there for me. They are encouraging, positive, and supportive.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to work with the clergy, staff, and lay leaders to help lead this exemplary synagogue. On behalf of your Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and my family, I wish you a Shanah Tovah U’Metukah. A meaningful year filled with good health, sweetness, and peace.
Gut Yom Tov,