Hi, temple family! I am Deborah Stoloff, a board member overseeing membership and hospitality. The Membership Committee has been successful at encouraging new individuals and families to join Congregation Agudas Achim at a time when, nationally, fewer people are joining synagogues. We want to keep growing, so I hope you will keep telling your friends and colleagues about our fabulous synagogue. We welcome them to visit and reach out with questions. We look forward to having other new members join us.
Being on the Board of Trustees has been an education for me. I get to experience and participate in a process that is wonderfully caring and detail oriented, working for the good of the congregation. Every want, need, request, and concern that comes our way is addressed thoughtfully and respectfully by caring volunteers. This is an impressive process that I knew nothing about until I went to my first meeting. If anyone wants to join the board, I offer my encouragement. No prior experience on a board is necessary.
Or how about stepping into one of these two important roles? Help is needed to spearhead the women’s group—to jump in fully or just put one activity together. We also need a mensch support person; when congregants request a helping hand, this person would simply send email to people who have already volunteered to be ready to help.
My husband Jerry Cohen and I joined the synagogue when our children, Leah (18) and Jonathan (16) were young. They graduated Hebrew School and had their B’nai Mitzvah here. As a Hebrew School parent, I worked in the office, was on the adult education and membership committees, cleaned the kitchen, drove kids to the soup kitchen, and weeded the outdoor space. In other words, I have done what many of you do: pitched in where needed. So many of us volunteer here, doing far more than me. Thanks to you all, we are the little temple that can.
Professionally, I have worked as a school psychologist and a newspaper reporter. I have jokingly said both careers are similar in that I got to ask people prying questions that were none of my business. Now I have a small business as an academic coach working with students in elementary school through college. Parents hire me to work with their capable, smart children who have barriers to learning. I have knowledge about learning differences, executive functioning, psychological diagnoses, etc. that help me understand and work with students on their journey to graduation. I work in many locations and I am fortunate to have an office at Bryant University’s Academic Center for Excellence. I also work with high school students and parents as a college consultant.
Now that Leah is in her first year at UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College and Jonathan has his first job within walking distance from home, I happily drive less. I visit my 88-year-old mother every week (I open jars, retrieve items from top shelves, and play many games of Scrabble) but now do so in a less hurried fashion and am more present. I hope to get back into creative writing and genealogy and remain active on behalf of temple members. Say hi if you see me when I am your board host at a service or attending temple events and feel free to let me know if I can be of help in any way. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2020, temple family!
Amy and her husband George have lived in North Attleboro for the past 21 years. She grew up as a member of Agudas Achim, and became a bat mitzvah in 1983. He son, Samuel, followed in her footsteps, becoming a bar mitzvah in 2013. After being a member of the board for the past 4 years, Amy is looking forward to continuing to build on the momentum from our previous leadership.