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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 10/2/15

It has long been my custom on Yom Kippur to publicly offer my thanks for the many people who have given their time, energy, and commitment to making our High Holy Day services at Temple Beth Torah meaningful and uplifting. Some of my thanks were offered during the morning service, others were expressed during the afternoon service. Since not everyone in the congregation was present at both services, I wish to acknowledge and thank once again:

“Jill Ziman, our wonderful Temple Administrator. You know Jill, there has been a lot of talk about finally putting the face of a woman on the currency of the United States. In my opinion, if we ever get around to printing our own money here at Temple, I am going to insist that your face be on the $1000 bill. And engraved on that currency will be the following motto: In Jill We Trust. Indeed it is our collective trust in Jill that assures us that everything that needs to be done for the High Holy Days will be taken care. Thank you for your continuing dedication to our congregation.

I want to offer my thanks to Michelle Eisenbruck. For many years she has volunteered to be our choir coordinator, which entails taking care of myriad details so that music for our choir, cantorial soloist, pianist, and conductor comes together smoothly. This year, Michelle was faced with a monumental task due to the arrival of our new machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh. For these High Holy Days, every service required a revised order of music; as well as photocopying each page of the machzor so that the choir would not have to hold a book in one hand and the music in another. Plus there was the challenge of getting this to everyone in a timely manner. I know that Michelle went not only the extra mile, but really the extra marathon to make this possible. To accomplish this, Michelle, you were not only awesome, you were totally awesome.

Speaking of our Adult Choir, I want to express my gratitude to all of you. Beginning two months before Rosh Hashanah, you came every week to rehearse. Before each service, you arrive early to warm-up your voices. Thank you for your dedication and the joy you bring to our congregation. Your singing is a blessing for all of us gathered during these High Holy Days. Knowing that you all support one another and enjoy singing together makes it even more special

Miriam (Brutus), Mary (Stocker), and Amy (Belles) – I want to thank each of you for what you share with our congregation. We are indeed enormously grateful to have you as our cantorial soloist, choir director, and pianist.

Miriam, we are exceedingly fortunate to have you with us. When I first met you some months ago when you came to interview, I was quickly impressed with your personal warmth and enthusiasm. But when you stood on this bimah and sang; oh my word, your beautiful voice was truly amazing. I knew instantly you were right for us and your singing throughout the holidays only confirms this truth.

Mary, it is such a pleasure to have you as our choir conductor. This year, you took on a task that was very challenging – to transcribe our sheet music into a form that was readable and precise. I believe that some of our music sheets date back to the time of Moses, but somehow you blew off the dust and brought forth clarity. Thank you for succeeding in this challenge and thank you for always bringing your knowledge, your energy, and your passion to our choir. We are enriched by your presence and I am grateful for all you share

Last, but certainly not last, I want to express my thanks to Amy. It is hard to believe this is your sixth year with us. Over the course of six years, most people show some signs of aging. Some of us have more gray in our hair but you, Amy, are a fountain of youth. Your buoyant spirit, your exquisite playing of the piano; and your kindness toward everyone are incredibly wonderful.

Miriam, Mary, and Amy – you are indeed blessings for our congregation and for your presence, we are grateful.

I want to thank Susan Schwartz for her leadership as president of our congregation. Thanks as well to Michelle Eisenbruck, chair of the Worship Committee and Susan Amouroux for overseeing our High Holy Days preparations, along with members of the Worship Committee. My thanks to Cheryl Cohen, who has been an inspiration to our youngsters for many years and who leads our Young Children’s services on the afternoons of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

I want to express my gratitude to Michele Berke for interpreting our Yuntiff services. It is extraordinary that Michele has the skill as well as the stamina to sign our services. We are all so grateful to you because you enable Jewish members of our deaf community to feel included in our services. This is such a mitzvah.

There are many others who contribute to our High Holy Days: Rin Ehrlich and Ashley Cohen, our splendid shofar blowers. Our Brotherhood arranges for ushers and the Women of Temple Beth Torah take care of our Rosh Hashanah Oneg. Special thanks to Greg Ravenscroft for making sure everything at Temple is in working order. Thanks also to Joseph Bradley for your assistance.

There are surely others to thank, and if I inadvertently left off your name, I apologize.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to express my appreciation to my daughter, Rebecca and my wife, Eve, for their support before and during these Days of Awe. I want to make special mention of my gratitude to Eve for reviewing drafts of my sermons as they were created. Her comments and suggestions were invariably spot on – and as a result, I, and hopefully all of us – have benefited from her insights.

To one and all, Todah Rabbah. Thank you.”

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