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Impact CBE at 50 • a letter from our president

December 1, 2019

Happy Birthday Congregation Beth Elohim!

Exactly 50 years ago today (assuming you are eagerly reading this article on the day of its issuance), Congregation Beth Elohim (“CBE”) was incorporated. This was the start of an amazing journey – from sharing space in Maynard to our own building; from 15 founding families to 280 member households. I would like to think that much of the vision which the founding families and early joiners had, has been accomplished through the hard work of so many volunteers: a vibrant Jewish community for Acton and its neighboring towns.

We were reminded of this beginning of CBE during the wonderful skit which kicked of the Gala on November 16th. What a great evening and celebration of our 50th. It was really good to see so many different ‘demographics’ present, from the founding families to the most recent joiners, multiple generations, and everything in between.

While it is fun to look back, as I remarked on Yom Kippur, we must also look forward. We need to continue to work hard and smart to ensure CBE’s best days lie ahead of us (so that we can celebrate CBE’s centennial). As the world around us is changing, we must also change to ensure CBE remains relevant. What mattered to families who joined fifty or thirty years ago is not necessarily the same as what matters to those members today and very likely, it is not the same as what matters to families who have recently joined or who are thinking about joining.

I think CBE, and other Jewish institutions, are even more important today than they were 50 years ago. It is even more important now to raise our children to become confident Jews; to keep our Jewish culture alive; to secure a future of Judaism in our community; to have a center of Jewish text and prayer; a beacon for Jewish values; a place to celebrate simchas or support friends who are mourning losses; a place to help make our community a better place.

In order for us to make sure CBE stays around for (at least) 50 more years, a lot of hard work is being performed each and every day by both professional staff and volunteers. As a Board, together with the professional staff, we continue to work on our strategic plan and the five (5) Amudim. We want to celebrate our 50th with a year full of activities under the branding of ‘Impact CBE at 50.

We are asking everybody to make an impact on CBE’s future during its 50th anniversary. Whether it is by participating in more events, contributing in the focus group meetings to help shape our future, becoming one of 50 (or more) new volunteers, helping attract 50 new members (allow me to dream), etc., I would like everyone to be a catalyst to increase activities / excitement in our community. This will be contagious. We started a “50th anniversary committee” whose objective is to encourage congregational programming to celebrate and recognize CBE’s 50th anniversary and provide coordination and support in the planning. It is not too late to join this committee (you can contact me).

50th birthday is one of the most important birthdays a person / Congregation has in their life. The 50th birthday is the golden jubilee (the origin of the Latin term "Jubilee", also meaning 50th, is the Hebrew word “Yovel”). When someone celebrates their anniversary, you may want to recognize this through a present/gift. s we all know, CBE (as most other (religious) non-profit organizations) relies on fundraising to remain relevant and to provide the programing you require. We simply are not able to derive enough revenue through our dues structure to do everything we need to do to, and more importantly, to do everything you want us to do. Therefore, as part of ‘Impact CBE at 50’, we are planning a new fundraising campaign. It is still too early to provide more information now, but I expect to share more during the coming month.

I look forward to continue working with everyone to recognize our past, while shaping our future. Because CBE matters. Yom Huledet Sameach - happy birthday CBE, to many more years!

As a final note, as mentioned before, if you have any feedback, something in general or something specific for me, please do not keep it a secret. Let me know at president@bethelohim.org.

I wish you all a wonderful December and Hanukkah Sameach.

V’shalom.

David Leers

 

Mon, December 9 2019 11 Kislev 5780