Rabbi Rotenberg: December 2021 and January 2022 Report
In December, there were two main tasks I was working on. With Hanukkah having been a success at Bill’s house in late November, and my vacation coming up, and winter slowing down people’s involvement generally, I shifted to one-on-one meetings, and planning exciting programs in January. I met a number of congregants before going on vacation and had an exciting series of programs ready to go in January when I returned from vacation.
Upon returning, the Omicron variety had come into full swing. We went virtual for my first two Shabbatot back and canceled the exciting programs we had on the calendar. This included a family fun day at the Forest Fun Center in Hixson for Tu b’Shevat and a new member social hosted at Jessica Soufer’s house.
With the programs postponed, I used the time again to meet people but also to spend more time on the building search and in meeting with congregant Arona De Sure to determine how BZ can best serve the community. With Bill Hillner, we met with realtor Mike Kelly, who showed us a property on Lindsay Street. We also met with the pastor of Pilgrim’s Church to determine if there was any plan for them to sell their building or if we could share it. Both were productive meeting in that we ruled out the church, and though the LIndsay Street property would not work out, we did establish a connection with Mike Kelly who showed us a prospective church for sale the following week. That church has since been purchased and would likely not have worked for our community in any case.
With Arona, we determined the best course of action to begin a social justice campaign was to create an adopt-a-grandparent program. Arona and I are meeting in the following week to determine a list of participants we will reach out to.
Another task for the future will be to expand our Hevre Kadisha. With Shelton Goldblatt’s passing, I am compiling a list of people who would be the right fit to join the Hevre. On this topic, Adult learning continues to thrive with our well attended Foundations class, as well as the upcoming Intro to Judaism. I’m teaching the Holidays class with Rabbi Lewis, and the upcoming Scholars of the Scroll relaunch will be an after-services Lunch & Learn.
As always, I am reaching out to new members, and hopefully the meetings I have had with prospective members in the past couple weeks will turn into a few new memberships. They include: a couple living in Huntsville, AL, a young couple who just moved to Lookout Mountain, and a woman considering moving here from NYC.
I am also hopeful that we can capture some of the momentum we ended the year with once we can meet and eat together again. I’d love to see the Super Bowl and the postponed January programs increase involvement to levels at least equal to the November Hanukkah party, but I expect this will be the case at least for Purim, mid-March.
(Rabbi Rotenberg Report 20220203 final)
Fundraising Report by Mark Shapiro
As of this report, the $100 board has sold out and some squares are available on the $50 board. The Super Bowl party will take place on Sunday, February13th with the doors opening at 5:00.
A tremendous thanks to Alan Lebovitz, Barbara Oxenhandler, Howard Kaplan, and Michael Spector who are responsible for contacting people and making the fundraiser a great success.
Mark Shapiro, Chairman
(Fundraising by Mark Shapiro 20220203)
Ritual Group – Roy Rosenfeld
a. Ritual – On December 30th Joint Mizpah B’nai Zion Re-opening Committee met on Zoom and decided to limit in-person activities. Since then all services have been on Zoom.
b. Cemetery – Unfortunately during the past months the funerals for Lester Votava and Shelton Goldblatt occurred.
c. High Holidays – Planning for this coming Fall’s High Holidays will start in the coming weeks and should begin by Passover.
d. Kashruth – If the Super Bowl Party is allowed at Mizpah, creative plans will have to be implemented quickly to achieve a menu similar to the past.