By Sharon Bleviss
May is a time of transitions, from the cold and rainy (well, sort of) winter to the flowers of spring and then to the lazy days of summer. May is a time of transition at Congregation B’nai Emunah as well. This year, at the Annual General Meeting when elections are held, my term as President of the Board of Directors will come to a close after six years.
People have asked me alternately, “Why are you leaving?” and “How did you last this long?” In response to the first question, I would say that in order for any organization to be healthy, leadership must rotate, new ideas must circulate and different styles must emerge. To answer the second question, I would say that it has been a fulfilling ride. Despite the long hours, often fraught with risk-taking and high stakes decision-making, the sense of accomplishment has been exhilarating. To be able to see the fruits of one’s labor so clearly is very reinforcing, and makes the job well worth it.
What has transpired at B’nai Emunah in the last six years? In 2006, the shul was without a rabbi, was deep in the red and was losing membership. Our spirit, along with lay and cantorial leadership, kept the place afloat, and generous bequests filled the coffers just in the nick of time, over and over again. Remarkably, not only do we now have a great rabbi in Rabbi Mark, but the shul is securely in the black, and is gaining new members regularly. What has been the constant is the sense of community that has been our hallmark, and that is the glue that continues to hold us together. The challenges have been great, but excellent teamwork on the part of the board, which takes its responsibility quite seriously, has enabled B’nai Emunah to operate in a financially efficient manner, allowing energy to be spent on education, religious practice, and programming.
So, I will pass the scepter on May 20th to a capable successor and step into the role of Immediate Past President. I will continue to be involved on the Education and Youth Activities Committee, as well as Sisterhood, and many other functions. I will be there at services and events, and back stage when needed. And I look forward to seeing my family more often.
It has been a privilege to serve this special community and am eager to step into my next role.