My wife and kids and I have been members here for almost eight years, and even though our time of membership is not as long as many of you, I feel that we have come to know the place very well. I actually think my father stated it best after I brought him here for a service the first time. He said, that there was "a noticeable feeling of warmth and substance emanating from the congregation and the sanctuary." It is that feeling of warmth and substance that I hope to continue during this Presidency and for years to come.
Even though we are a small congregation, we are truly blessed. We are fortunate to have a Rabbi who is not only one of the most intelligent people one could ever meet, but who is also one of the nicest and most compassionate. Our Cantor is extremely talented and enthusiastic and continues to be an integral part of our temple community while making a name for himself in the community at large. We are blessed with wonderful educators and staff, but most of all, we are blessed with each other. For it is our total congregational community that creates the atmosphere, the programming, the warmth and substance of this place.
This may all be obvious to you, but I think it is important at this time to remember why we make West Suburban Temple our home. The next year is going to present challenges and change. We have the difficult task of replacing a beloved Executive Director who, in fact can never be replaced. We also have the task of replacing our Pre-School Director who has done such a marvelous job in accrediting our pre-school and creating a warm and nurturing environment for our children. There may be other changes - some that we seek and others that are forced upon us. We will accept these challenges at a time when finances are tight and the pool of available candidates in the Western Suburbs is not large.
We may need to make compromises, we may need to change the way things have been done in the past and we may need to tighten our belts or contribute more to make ends meet. We may need to volunteer our time more and take on roles of which we are un-accustomed or in which we are uncomfortable. We may not all agree with the decisions that are made, but we need to keep in mind and remember that all of us only have in mind the maintenance of the warmth and substance of this place and the long-term viability of West Suburban Temple.
At this time, more than ever, we need your help and we need your involvement. If you don't know me, please introduce yourself. I will certainly try and meet you. Let me know areas of concern and how you would like to help. We may not always get the result we want, we may not always hear the words we want to hear, but in any event no one in our congregation should feel excluded from the process or that their opinions do not matter.
In addition to strengthening from within, one of my goals as President is to continue to strengthen our broader Jewish community in the Western Suburbs. We need to show that we have critical mass, that we are here and that we deserve more attention from the Federation, the USCJ and the other organizations that support the Jewish community. One of the ways to do this will be to break down some barriers between ourselves and the temple across the street. We have begun this process and hope to increase the number of joint activities including educational programming and community activism to counter some of the anti-semitic and anti-zionist forces at work within our community. Together we are a stronger force and it is important that we make use of all our resources.
In closing, I would like to say that I am very excited about the quality of the Executive Committee and the Board that we have assembled as leaders of this Congregation. There is not one person in that group that is not bright, committed and possessing of a deep love and care for this Synagogue.
I feel privileged to serve with you as a team and I look forward to meeting the challenges together.
Brian B. Gilbert
Join us for Shabbat services: Friday evenings at 6:30 and Saturday mornings at 10:00.
For further information contact the Temple office.Dr. Victor A. Mirelman, Rabbi; Harvey Gross, Administrator; Alicia Gejman, Principal; Bev Applebaum, Pre-school Director.