Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey

Summer 2015 Message from Outgoing President Mo Bauer

As many of you are aware, my two-year term as JCNWJ President is coming to a close. At the recent annual Congregation Meeting, I concluded with the President’s Report. In my report, I summarized the accomplishments of the Jewish Center over these past two years, referenced future goals, and thanked the many members who made an easy term for me. An inquiry was made as to whether I prepared a written report. Please accept the following as the President’s Annual Report.

First, and perhaps foremost, the long-awaited kitchen and simcha room renovations and improvements were completed. This major undertaking had been discussed for many years. It became a reality thanks to very generous donations, congregational support, the approval by the Board and, most importantly, the tireless work of the kitchen committee to see this project through from the initial design planning, bidding, product selection and permit applications to waiting for final inspections, selecting paint colors and organizing a “kitchen shower” in honor of our remodeled space, with focus on the environment and our rules of kashrut. I especially want to thank, on behalf of the Jewish Center, Jeff and Jeanne Berkowitz, who chaired the House Committee and Kitchen Committee, respectively.

In addition to interior renovations, the Sisterhood procured a shed for the temple. The shed has created much needed extra space and has allowed us to store all of our materials in one central location as opposed to congregants’ homes and a multitude of storage areas in the temple. Also, once the concrete is prepared in the front exterior entranceway, a new park bench will be a welcome addition thanks to the gift from the 2012-13 B’nai Mitzvah Class.

Our Membership, Ritual and Sisterhood Committees have made great strides in putting together programs and social activities that benefit our congregation and the community beyond our temple walls; from Grow-A-Row and food drives to speakers and programs for Kristallnacht and Yom HaShoah to our musical Shabbat Across America featuring the Muhlenberg Chaimonics to Ladies Nights Out and Mah Jongg, just to name a few. The goal for the upcoming year is to continue with these events and add more, such as Men’s Club and teen events. Social activities build community.

Our Hebrew School curriculum was revamped this year under the direction of Rabbi Zamore and Education Chair Gerri Klein, and we remain thankful for the dedication of our teachers, Jennifer Rosenblum, Howie Hirsch, Suzi Marr and Debbie Fesinstine. This year’s Confirmation Class experienced a memorable New York City day trip/retreat. Education is a means for passing on our religion to our children and our children’s children. We cannot overemphasize the importance of structuring our education so that our kids remain engaged and appreciate Judaism and its many traditions.

My decision to not seek reappointment as President was based on my belief that leadership changes are healthy and a means for getting everyone involved. During my tenure I have shared my belief that it is important for a co-op to allow committees to make decisions and for the Board to defer to and support such decisions. By following this approach, more congregants will become socially involved and be leaders for the community. The easiest leadership position should be the presidency, given the responsible and hard-working committees that so many members contribute to and more who I hope will join. For me, it was easy because of the support and pro-active workings of the Board and the Committees. I encourage our young leaders to aspire to be President and help guide the future success of the temple.

I again thank everyone; Rabbi Zamore, who will be missed, the Board, the Committees and this special Congregation, for enabling me to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the Jewish Center and its members.

Thank you,
Mo Bauer

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Last updated: June 20, 2015