A Message from the President of the CBS Board
Last fall, I turned 70, and, with several family members pitching in, we Parshalls led a Kabbalat Shabbat service to celebrate my birthday. In my d’var, I addressed that week’s parshah, Ha’Azinu (Chapter 32 of Deuteronomy), in which Moses urges the Israelites to “Remember the days of old . . . Ask your father, and he will recount it to you” how the Lord “found them in a desert land” and made them a people. The portion ends with God directing Moses to climb Mount Nebo, where he will behold the promised land—but die without achieving it himself.
I remarked that Moses was 120 at the time, not 70, and while I don’t plan on dying any time soon, I certainly don’t have 50 more years. Nor do I stand on a mountain top. Yet I do have a vision for Congregation Beth Shalom: An energetic rabbi leading a congregation committed to building on its current strengths, and a thriving community in which my grandchildren learn the ways of Torah, engage in acts of loving kindness and Tikkun Olam, and participate in Jewish cultural and educational programs—maybe even religious services?
What we are doing today, tomorrow, and beyond—you and I, individually and collectively—is preparing for our children and grandchildren and the new arrivals in Mid-Missouri who will follow us.
Many of us have lived our lives on an academic calendar, so during the summer it’s only natural to reflect a bit on the past year. We opened by welcoming fifth-year rabbinic student Matt Derrenbacher to join us a couple times a month; for our High Holy Day services, the weather cooperated so we could gather outdoors and enjoy the beautiful voice of rabbinic student Rocki Schy (along with Andy and BelleAnne Curry, who have augmented our HHD services for more than twenty years). We have seen six teenagers become b/mitzvah,. Our Purim celebration was entertaining as always, Passover brought together dozens for a community seder sponsored by Sisterhood, and we raised well over $15,000 beyond costs at the Spring Fling (covering about a third of the cost of our driveway and parking lot repairs). Throughout the year, several of our members stepped up to lead services when we didn’t have coverage from Matt. Perhaps even more importantly, congregants and friends continued to assist Afghan refugees, while members of the Tikkun Olam committee and others prepare and serves cores of people via Loaves and Fishes on fifth Sundays and, through the Interfaith Garden, not only raise produce for the local food bank but also develop a relationship with the land that our synagogue sits on and preserve its legacy as farmland.
And since that Friday night in early October, we have also hired our student rabbi, Matt Derrenbacher, a dynamic young man who was ordained on May 20, whom we will welcome full time in June; set record highs in donations through annual giving (called “pledges” or “dues” by most); seen nearly 50 students attending a thriving religious school, led for 25 years by Deb Kaplan (please give her a round of applause!); and stabilized membership, even gaining a sufficient number of new folks to overcome the loss of several long-time members who moved from Columbia.
Yet what matters now is our future.
We have completed repairs to the driveway and the parking lot east of the Farmhouse, and we are working on other necessary work on our buildings and grounds.
As Rabbi Derrenbacher, Matt will build on the connections he has already made within our congregation and in the community. He has ideas and energy, but do let me know if you would like to assist with Matt’s orientation.
Earlier this month, we marked our move 20 years ago to the former Godfrey Farm on Green Meadows Road. The first service in the Farmhouse took place on July 4, 2003; to commemorate the anniversary, we held an early service and community potluck dinner.
If you attended the Spring Fling or the annual meeting, you heard us say that the Spring Fling was just the first event in what we plan as a series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the congregation’s founding. CBS was incorporated in 1974, and held its first annual meeting in 1975. Look just outside the sanctuary and you’ll see the charter document signed by 92 individuals at that gathering. The next time you see one of the founding members still in Columbia, please be sure to say, “Thank You” for their vision: Willa Adelstein, Gladys Allen, Hanna and David Klachko, Joan Luterman, Janet and Gary Oxenhandler, Ginny and Ben Puttler, Joan and Warren Solomon, and DeeDee Strnad.
We have quite a bit of history among us, no matter where we’ve come from, no matter how long we’ve been part of this community, so if you would like to help with planning celebratory events, please contact Paul Eisenstein
Needless to say, I am looking forward to the coming months and years with excitement, and I sincerely hope and trust that you do as well. I also hope and trust that you will share your excitement with others—friends, family, maybe some non-affiliated Jews you know.
Building a stronger CBS requires even stronger direct support from our members. Adding a full-time rabbi means that our annual budget will increase by about $50,000. Keeping our volunteer-led committees and auxiliaries active calls for broader participation in welcoming new members, engaging in Tikkun Olam programs, maintaining our buildings and grounds, celebrating Shabbat, conducting High Holy Day services, and so on.
We need you, so I invite you to get in touch to let me know how you would like to serve your—our—Jewish community. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org , and I hope you’ll write, whether to ask questions or to share ideas for our congregation’s future.
Tim Parshall, President
Board of Directors
Congregation Beth Shalom