Kol Nidre, President’s Address: Upgrading Shomrei

President’s State of the Synagogue Speech on Kol Nidre, 9/24/2023

L’Shana Tova Everyone!

I get to share with you some of the great news of how things have gone here at Shomrei and how I expect the new year to go.

There is so much to share about what we’ve been doing here since last year.  Did you notice that the old wallpaper is gone from the social hall and it has a fresh coat of paint?  Surely you noticed the new bollards out front, and the new double FOB access doors, providing greater security for our congregation.  Perhaps you can hear the results of our investment into the sound system here in the social hall, and in the sanctuary – or you noticed that the sound at our outdoor activities has improved – well, you would be right – the systems in all three places are totally new!

Ehud had our two old dishwashers removed from the kitchen and replaced with one efficient new one!  A generous donor bought us an ice machine so we never run out.  We’ve fixed roofs, repaired the park street doors, fixed the sidewalk on park street, and the concrete exit stairs at the back of the sanctuary.

We’ve added a new full time hire who shares time between the office and the school – Tal.  Introduce yourself to her if you see her around!

We’ve reorganized programming so that there are exciting events happening all year round – thoughtfully engaging all demographics here.

We cleared out the attic – freeing up space for all the other things we want to store up in the attic!

We got the light working up there to beam through the huge circular stained-glass piece at the back of the sanctuary.  Have you seen it yet?

The kitchen was reorganized, and upgraded.  After some adjustments, it is better laid out and operates substantially better than it did before.

There are is a new waterflow monitor on our main water line, with an auto-shutoff if there is a sustained drop in pressure – like a leak that unchecked would lead to a massive flood.  We fixed the roof – patched spots that were causing leaks, added some new preventative plans to keep it healthy for many more years.

These big improvements that we have made over the course of the year aren’t everything, but should hopefully give you an idea of how active we have been this past year, making the building better, improving programs, engaging with the congregation about what else we need to achieve operational consistency.

But wait, there is more.  That’s just what we’ve done.  There is so much we want to do!

In this new year you will see a continuation of the upgrades.  We’re adding new lights and cameras to the outside of the building to make it even more secure.  We’re investing in new sewer pumps to our system, that will hopefully eliminate the regular cost we incur to clear the pipes from blockage.  With the support of a generous donor, we are lighting the stained-glass windows in this room, from this side, into the sanctuary, so when we daven it is bright and beautiful to behold.  We dream of renewing the building’s entrance – making it the welcoming space we want.

And as I mentioned in my Rosh Hashanah speech, we are reaching for even more.  It’s an exciting time, and if we all embrace the abundance that I see just out of reach, but coming into focus, we can keep going – making changes that inspire, that make our building into the religious home we are all so proud of.

On the shoulders of those who have been working for change for so many years – we are all standing.  The future of Shomrei is bright

A quick additional note.  I just said “WE” many times, but it was not very often that “I” was the driver of these changes.  I alone am not enough.  The few of our congregants and valued staff who take these changes forward are enough today, but there is strain.  If you want to see these changes continue, you want to be part of the growth at Shomrei over the next few years, we need you to put your hand up.  Tell one of the board that you’d like to get more deeply involved – that you can help us!  There are so many ways to volunteer at Shomrei – we need so much from so many.  I hope you feel inspired, like I do, to make Shomrei great.  If you do, just let us know.  We’re ready for you!!

L’Shana Tova everyone.


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Michael Sag

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