Hello! I wanted to introduce myself to those who don’t know me and to say hello again to those who do. When Shirley Grill, representing the Nominating Committee, called me in mid-December to ask if I would consider becoming President of Congregation Shomrei Emunah I was in the middle of volunteering at an event. My first reaction was “why me” but that I needed some time to think about it. Afterall, I had just retired from a 40+ year career in finance and banking and I was already busy volunteering and travelling. My husband David had retired a few years earlier from a career in Restaurant Equipment and there are still many items in our synagogue kitchen that he donated when he was working. So here we were, both retired and both amazingly engaged in so many activities that we never made the time for before. So why now?
David and I moved to Montclair in the winter of 1986 (in a snowstorm of course) and joined the Shul that spring. We got involved pretty quickly as the Community was so welcoming. There was the young families’ group and the Hikers, Bikers & Schmoozers club. Then David was on the Board as the Building & Grounds VP (I don’t remember for how many terms anymore) when we had the old building and there seemed to be an emergency repair needed weekly (I am sure that I am exaggerating but at the time it seemed that way). I served on several committees (too many to remember) and was involved in what was then Sisterhood and that led to becoming Co-Chair with Alex Kent of the Education Board and serving on the Shul board as Treasurer and then VP Finance (prior to Sustaining Share). Our daughter Ilana was born in March 1992 and had her baby naming and Bat Mitzvah at Shomrei. She grew up in Shomrei attending JLC and then Hebrew High School, the predecessor of STOM. She became a “teachers aid” for JLC and has taught at her synagogue in Madison, Wisconsin for the last 5 years. She is moving East in August but has already contacted the synagogue in Ithaca, NY where she will be attending Cornell for a master’s degree. Shomrei and Jewish Summer Camp laid the foundation for her love of Judaism.So, back to my initial question – why me, why now? Of course, all this is pre-Pandemic and I am questioning whether I can devote the time. I never questioned my commitment to Shomrei as it has always been an important part of my life – sometimes in the foreground and sometimes in the background- but always somewhere. The Shomrei Community has been there for every major event over the last 30+ years and it has had a huge impact on our family.As I considered the taking on the Presidency, a responsibility that I do not take lightly, I asked myself why not? The Shomrei Community has always been so important to us and it is part of who I am. Certainly, following Sara Ann Erichson as president is no easy feat. Her leadership has been an inspiration to me, and her partnership continues to be a source of strength. This is a challenging time for all of us. We are in the midst of a pandemic that has brought pain to our community and uncertainty. We are facing significant change in our daily lives and change in our country as we grapple with the environment and what we as a society will not tolerate so we can be true to our Jewish values.
I am so humbled to be the Shomrei Emunah president and am lucky to have such a talented and committed board. We have a vibrant school, a hardworking and caring office staff and a welcoming community and I want to thank all of you for everything you do for Shomrei and continue to do. I am excited as well as a bit anxious to get to work as president and look forward to partnering with all of you and Rabbi Greenstein who is our spiritual leader as we take Shomrei to the next level. We have an amazing foundation and I am asking all of you to help me build on that. You have my promise that I will do my best to continue all the wonderful things that are Shomrei and to support our community as we embrace the future together. I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to reach out. We can only do this together as a community!
In addition to my stepping up as president, a new Board of Trustees is also hard at work. Most on our board are existing members and continuing and there are no words to thank them enough. We also have two new board members – Audrey Levitin and Romy Rost who are joining as Trustees and look for their introduction in an upcoming issue of Shomrei Week.
Miriam is President of Congregation Shomrei Emunah. She and her husband David joined Shomrei in 1986. She has a long history of committee involvement (too many to list) at the synagogue. In the past, Miriam served as Co-Chair of the Education Board, Shomrei Trustee, Treasurer and VP of Finance.She and David raised their daughter Ilana while at Shomrei.
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