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!
Hello and Happy New Year!
My name is Addam Brodsky and I currently serve on the Board of Trustees as Director for Building and Maintenance.
I grew up in Brockton and attended a Conservative temple, Temple Beth Emunah, until my college days took me down to Providence. After many years in Rhode Island, I moved back to the area and currently live in Norton with my wife and two daughters. I feel fortunate to have found such a loving, caring and close-knit Jewish community to call home here at Agudas Achim. I’ve been a member of the Temple for the past four years and both of my daughters attend Hebrew School at the Temple.
In my three years of service as a Board member I have worked to help recruit new members, supported new fundraising efforts, and assisted the Finance Committee in negotiating a new term loan to pay off the Temple’s revolving credit facility, I also spearheaded the just-completed effort to make Congregation Agudas Achim a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a significant step forward—among other benefits, we are eligible to apply for and receive many more grants. If anyone has knowledge of local, state, or federal grants for religious organizations such as ours, please feel free to reach out to me or any of the Board members. However, one of the most rewarding roles I have taken on has been heading up the Purim Carnival each year!
In my current role, I support the hardworking efforts of the Building and Maintenance Committee who work tirelessly to keep the Temple building and property in great shape. Individuals such as Sharon Friedman, Gerry Bradie, Gary Price, Charlie Seelig, Brian Bodemer, and many others do so much without much recognition or fanfare. So let this letter serve as our sincere appreciation for all their efforts!
With that said, the Temple building is always in need of new improvements and we must continue to fund and support the activities to address some of the significant capital improvements needed in the coming years. Having replaced one half of the Temple HVAC system in 2018, we will need to replace the second half of the system within the next year or two. Additionally, we need to replace the roof over the classrooms, fix the sidewalks, repave the parking lot, implement new security features, and ultimately replace the septic system, just to name a few.
How can I help, you might ask? Increasing your dues by even a small amount would help greatly. I also encourage you to help recruit new families to join the congregation, and to participate in the many wonderful fundraisers we run each year.
For those families who have the ability to do more, specific donations to support any of the capital projects previously listed would be greatly appreciated. If you work for or have a connection to companies that might be able to do some of the work on the projects listed above at a discount, or provide charitable grants for such projects, let’s make a plan to follow up—we can use all the help we can get!
While we are a small congregation, keeping it running involves many people working together. I’m glad to help, and I hope you will get involved too.
P.S. if anyone wants to get involved with the planning, decorating, cooking or running of the Purim Carnival, I would greatly appreciate the help. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.