As we approach March—only 4 months from the end of our fiscal year—we wanted to update you about our Board of Trustees as there have been some shifts in responsibility as some members step down. In addition, we wanted to share our plans for the Presidency while offering our thoughts and ideas for the future of our Board.
First, we would like to thank both Brian Bodemer and Bruce Levine for their service on our Board since 2015 as Director of Building Operations and Property Management, and Treasurer, respectively. Both men felt that they had other matters that required their time and attention and as a result they could not fulfill their duties on the Board. We appreciate that this was a di cult decision for both of them, and we hope you will join us as we celebrate their time and commitment as leaders of our congregation!
As a result of these changes we are happy to share the news that current Board member Addam Brodsky, who had been supporting Amy Bono and Toni Tinburg in the areas of Congregational Support and Engagement and New Membership, will shift his focus to Building Operations and Property Management. He has already begun to work with Sharon Friedman on seeking cost saving opportunities and he will manage our day-to-day operational needs with help from the Building Committee.
Also as a result of these Board changes, Rosanna has agreed to serve as both Co-President and Interim Treasurer through June. She is working closely with Erin, our new office administrator, on all financial systems and reporting functions. Together, they are working to improve our database and reported information in an e ort to streamline this function and make it easier to manage for the next Treasurer.
We also want to update you on our plans for the Presidency—or in our case, the “Co-Presidency.” We announced at last year’s annual meeting that we would commit to only one year of our second two-year term, that is, until June of this year. We both have since decided to stay on as Board Co-Presidents for the remainder of our second term, through June 30, 2019. A new President or Co-Presidents will be elected at the 2019 Annual Meeting.
Now for a twist on a common theme. We would like to ask that you consider how you would like to contribute to the synagogue, but—believe it or not—this time we are not asking about money, but something equally important: your time.
Many, many congregants over the years have assumed roles on the Board and on committees, have volunteered at events, and have accepted honors on the bima; several have done all of the above. We ask that you consider your synagogue and how you can serve as a leader—someone who is willing to support our building operation, seek new members, record important discussions, raise funds, or perhaps lead the whole lot of those working hard to sustain our congregation.
Some of these ideas may seem daunting, but you will have the support of many fellow congregants. As we have learned, it can be quite manageable, and even rewarding!
At this year’s annual meeting on June 3, we will report on plans for 2018–2019 and we will share our thoughts for the two-year term that will follow from 2019–2021. If you would like to be part of this exciting time, please reach out to either one of us—we are happy to discuss the scope of work that lies ahead as well as the challenges we continue to face.
Best wishes to all... and we look forward to building a strong leadership in the years ahead!
Sammi & Rosanna
Dear CAA Community,
As we quickly approach our High Holiday service schedule, we wanted to mention that this year there will be a police officer stationed outside the synagogue. The officer will provide extra security on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur morning. The Board decided that in a year of heightened concern (not at our synagogue specifically), this might allow all participants, including board hosts and ushers, to be more present during services.
We wanted to let you know ahead of time as we know in spite of our intention to provide comfort, the presence of a police officer could make some people less comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to either one of us or Rabbi Leora.
Sammi & Rosanna
Dear friends and fellow congregants,
As spring arrives, there is sometimes a feeling that Hebrew school and the cycle of Jewish holidays are winding down. In fact, just the opposite is true.
This is the time of year when we ask you to consider supporting the synagogue through our annual campaign. Instead of simply asking you to make a donation, we want to share our plan for fundraising and provide you with a clear picture of where funds are needed and how they are allocated.
As many of you know, membership dues and school tuition do not fully cover our operating expenses, not to mention building improvements and program needs beyond the scope of our budget. As a result, 10% of our operating income must come from donations. We are on our way to meeting that target with your help, and any additional funds raised will go to building improvements and program expansion.
There are several opportunities to support the synagogue throughout the year. Our Tribute Program provides an opportunity to honor or remember a loved one while also supporting our congregation. Also, our newly established Tree of Life campaign will provide the option to publicly memorialize or recognize an individual or event. This month, we are asking you to donate to The Aleynu Project (formerly known as “Planting the Seeds”), which generates revenue at a time of the year when cash flow is particularly low.
In addition to outlining the ways you can support CAA, we want to share ways that your support can add value to our community:
1. Sustain the daily life of our community. Our operating expenses include:
• Education/school expenses: average monthly cost per student = $120
• Adult education: average cost to run a 6-week program facilitated by rabbi = $500
• Custodial services: average monthly cost = $900
• Utilities: average monthly cost = $385 for heat, $630 for electricity, $143 for phone and Internet, for a total of $1,158
• Payroll: average monthly payroll expense (rabbi, administrators, and school staff) = $8,683
2. Improve accessibility.
Upcoming initiatives include repairing outside walkways and providing curbside ramps, with an ultimate goal of making one restroom wheelchair-accessible. This initiative is long overdue, but fulfilling it will require extensive fundraising to support a significant budget. Two of our teens, Michael Shuman and Jenna Spencer, have dedicated their time and focus to improving accessibility to support all patrons with mobility challenges. They have raised seed money, but in order to carry out their plans, we must raise more money.
3. Contribute to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.
This fund helps people in need from both our membership community and the community at large. It also pays for supplemental programming, resources and professional development for the rabbi, and scholarships to members who need financial assistance.
Please give some thought to how you might like to support your community. If you are on a 10-month dues payment plan, we invite you to consider making an additional month’s payment (or two). Others might simply like to make a donation that makes sense for them.
In addition to seeking donations, we would like to mention that much of the planning and work completed at the synagogue is accomplished by congregants who volunteer their time and services, and for that we are so very grateful.
We will provide more detailed information on our financial position at our upcoming annual meeting on June 25. Also, please look for a letter from our Development Committee asking you to submit your contribution to the Aleynu Project this spring.
We appreciate your thoughtfulness as you continue to support our congregation throughout the year!
Best wishes, Sammi & Rosanna
What a thrill it was to have so many of you at our February Shabbat B’Yachad! Combining it with celebrations of Shabbat Shirah and Tu B’Shevat gave it extra meaning. (Sammi adds: after hearing about what a wonderful evening it was from Rosanna, I was so sorry to not have been present.) As you know, our board, committees, volunteers, and staff work hard to make our synagogue a warm and welcoming place, and a wonderful spirit filled the sanctuary that evening.
We also thank Rav Leora for her support, dedication, and guidance as we move through the year. In a time of so much transition, she radiates wisdom and kindness, and we are grateful to have her as our spiritual leader!
As we wait for spring to arrive, we hope you’ll join us for some late-winter fun at the annual Purim festivities on March 11 and 12, which are combined this year with Shabbat B’Yachad. This year’s theme is “Under the Sea,” and you’re encouraged to dress in costume, especially one inspired by the theme.
Sammi and Rosanna
Purim 2017: Under the Sea
Saturday, March 11
5 p.m.—Electives, including:
Making mishloach manot (gifts of food and treats for friends and family)
Making groggers (noisemakers)
Baking hamentashen (Purim cookies)
Learning with Rav Leora
“Spice up your Megillah reading,” a chance to learn how to get more creative with telling the story of Purim!
6:15 p.m.—Community pot-luck dinner followed by Havdalah; watch your email or call the office to find out what you can bring to the table
7 p.m.—Megillah reading
Now it’s time to let loose! The Megillah tells the story of Purim, a tale of greed, deceit, and beautiful princesses—with an “Under the Sea” theme. We’re still looking for people to help with the reading! You can read as much or as little as you like in the language of your choice (Pig Latin is a favorite), and you’re encouraged to “spice it up” with sound effects, props, etc. Contact Rav Leora to sign up!
Sunday, March 12
1 p.m.—Purim Carnival with games, face painting, food, music, and more!
To all members of our congregation…
In the American tradition, we wanted to use this November newsletter to give thanks, as we are so grateful to everyone who helped make our High Holiday services happen.
We will now attempt to name you all…
Our cantorial soloist Janet Encarnacion, the Choir, and everyone who blessed, read from, carried, lifted, or dressed the Torah, offered an English reading, or opened the ark during services; we thank you!
Sharon Friedman and Liz Moukit for blowing shofar; Kim Bodemer and Howard Tinberg for both serving as Gabbai, and Kim in particular for coordinating all of the Torah honors; we thank you!
Jessica Kopecky-Lanausse and Keri Pray in the office; the Ritual Practices Committee—Michael Rudnick, Kim Bodemer, Alan Wartenberg, Howard Tinberg, and Joel Kravetz; the Building Committee—Sharon Friedman, Gerry Bradie, Gary Price, and Brian Bodemer; the Education Committee—Lauren Scher, Cathie Cruz, Debra Packard, Michelle Hartenbergh, and Molly Jacobs; Children’s Service leaders—Caron Heller, Lauren Scher, Barbara Shays, and Tamara Gruber; we thank you!
Tristan Davies for the supplement and other print materials; Deb Mandell and Emily Farmer for the new website and other marketing tools; Barbara Shays and Charlie Seelig for the Break Fast; Deb Mandell, and Amy Bono for the flowers and pumpkins; and the Board Hosts and Ushers; we thank you!
And to those who shared any or all of these High Holy Days with us… we thank you for being a very special part of our time together as these High Holy Days were truly a community-wide endeavor!
With love, appreciation, and best wishes for good health and happiness in the New Year,
Rav Leora, Rosanna & Sammi
As we are rapidly approaching fall it is our tradition to reflect, to make peace with our past year, and to make plans and promises for our year ahead.
We look forward to sharing these High Holidays with all of you and hope to connect and re-connect as we begin a new year together. We are happy to be led by Rav Leora, and look forward to welcoming back our fellow Board member and very special Choir Director, Janet Encarnacion, as our Cantor. And as your co-presidents, we will share our plans and goals for the coming months.
By now you should have received our High Holiday information. If you have not, or if you have any questions, please feel free to call the office at the number below.
Sammi & Rosanna
The summer is here! First and foremost, we wanted to thank those of you who were able to join
us at our annual meeting where we shared our successes and challenges from both the past year
and the year ahead. We celebrated our students and teachers, our education coordinator, our
administrative staff, our outgoing Board members, our graduating seniors and Tristan Davies and
Charlie Seelig, our Congregants of the Year!
We also said goodbye to Rabbi Carolan, and wished her well as she embarks on the next part of
her journey with her family.
We will welcome Rav Leora on July 18 th and look forward to getting to know her and learning
from her in the months ahead.
During the transition period before Rav Leora arrives, Amy Small, our Kesher Social Worker
with Jewish Family Service, will be offering office hours at Agudas Achim. She will be in the
Rabbi’s office on July 13 th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Amy may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
401-338- 8301. Please note that meetings and calls are confidential. Amy would like to hear from
you about anything that is on your mind.
And finally, we are excited to introduce a new leadership and volunteer training program that we
will offer to all those interested in the congregation on Sunday, July 24 th at 12:00 noon. Whether
you chair or serve on a committee or if you are simply interested in working with a group to
improve your own leadership and support skills, you are welcome to join us! We plan to iron out
the details very soon and we will present more information about how to register in the days
Have a wonderful summer and we hope to see you soon!
As you are aware, our community continues to work hard to renew our practices, increase our
membership and improve our surroundings. We take pride in our community and our synagogue,
as they are both a big part of who we are. We pitch in and support one another as a community
both in times of need and celebration; and we pitch in to support our synagogue working to make
it haimish, a place of warmth and love.
This is the time of year when we all must consider the needs of our community in an effort to
sustain our Jewish identity. In doing so, we are excited to introduce:
The Aleynu* Project ~ Strengthening our Future
*It’s up to us
This new campaign will help us to achieve our goals as a congregation, which include coming
together; supporting each other’s needs as well as the needs of the synagogue, while also
sustaining and growing our Jewish community. This campaign also comes to you in place of our
“planting the seeds” campaign and is a new way of thinking about how we can further invest in
our community. A separate letter will be sent to you outlining the details of The Aleynu Project,
and will include opportunities supporting various areas of need and at different levels ranging
from $36 and up to represent choices that might appeal to everyone. We do hope you will
consider making a contribution that works for your family and your budget. Listed below are
examples of how to support our future at CAA… every bit helps!
Temple Tributes—Prayer Book dedications, memoriam plaques
Items in Need—portable marquee sign letters, folding chairs, 8-foot tables
Building Fund—general repairs, ADA accessibility, parking lot resurfacing
Support—Rabbi’s discretionary fund
Unrestricted Funds—salaries, unforeseen expenses, to be used as needed
As referenced above, we look forward to coming together, supporting each other’s needs as well
as the needs of the synagogue, while also sustaining and growing our Jewish community! We
thank you for your consideration and support as we move forward to strengthen our future!
The Development Committee:
Joe Bell, Maureen Canner, Todd Goldstein, Glenn Gruber and Sammi Robertson
As spring begins, we find ourselves emerging from a very busy and ongoing process to secure
new leadership, embarking on yet another transition, while excited to begin this new season of
In January, the Board had a productive retreat where we got to know each other better and had a
chance to think in depth about many of the issues facing our congregation. At the same time, the
Search Committee worked tirelessly to interview candidates, and by now you should have
received our letter welcoming Leora Abelson as the congregation’s new Religious Leader!
As a result of all of this activity, we are planning an important meeting so that we may all
reconnect and share our plans with you.
We will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, April 10th from 4 to 6 p.m. We will
talk about community, with a focus on leadership, our congregation, our school and our
synagogue. This will be an opportunity for you to hear about what has transpired thus far
during our presidency, and, together with the Board, what we hope to accomplish through
June and in the year ahead.
Our agenda also will include a Strategic Plan update—where we are and where we want to be.
We will discuss how we hope to continue to grow while also remaining the warm, energetic and
welcoming community that we are.
We hope to see you on the 10th !
We are writing to update you on our search for a new religious leader. As you know, it has been
a very busy time both for our Search Committee and our Board as we have all worked hard to
move through and support our search process.
Vera Broekhuysen’s visit to the Hebrew School on Sunday, February 28, will be our last
candidate visit, and it marks the end of an important phase of the search. With that said, several
important steps remain before we can secure and announce the hiring of a new religious leader.
1. The Search Committee will review all of the information about each candidate while
considering a number of factors beyond what congregants observed in the Shabbat and
Hebrew School services:
The candidate’s previous Jewish and non-Jewish education and work experience
The candidate responses during two extensive interviews
Congregant feedback including survey results
Feedback from Annette Lawson, our education coordinator, and Rosanna
Wertheimer, our co-president in charge of Jewish life, who have both interviewed
Discussions with the candidate’s references
The candidate’s interactions overall with the Search Committee and with other
2. Following this extensive review and discussion, the Search Committee will submit their
recommendation to the Board. At the same time, a Contract Committee will work out the
details of the job description and contract to be submitted to the Board.
synagogue members that helped coordinate the candidate visits.
3. The Board will then consider the Search Committee and Contract Committee’s
recommendations and make a final decision about which candidate to whom we will
make an offer and also the content of the offer.
Once we have offered a contract to a candidate, it is common for there to be negotiations to
refine the job description and terms of the agreement.
The Search Committee, Board, and Contract Committee have been planning ahead in order to
move the process along as quickly as possible, but each step requires time and careful
deliberation. The process also must be confidential until a contract is signed, which means that
while you can rest assured that we are all working diligently to reach a successful conclusion,
our progress will not be very visible.
We are very fortunate to have three outstanding candidates, all of whom have expressed interest
in serving our congregation for more than a year. We hope that whoever becomes our religious
leader will have been a top choice for many of you, but we know there is no way that it will have
been the top choice for all of you; we all have our own priorities and preferences, and each
candidate brings different strengths. We hope you will join us in welcoming our new religious
leader warmly as he or she settles into our community and demonstrates his or her full potential
in contributing to our congregation.
We would also like to offer our gratitude and appreciation to our Search Committee for the
hours, days, weeks and months they have dedicated to this search. Thank you to Janet
Encarnacion, Sharon Friedman, Stuart Freiman, Peter Schwartz and Charlie Seelig for your
ongoing dedication and commitment to our synagogue and congregation!
Sammi Robertson and Rosanna Wertheimer, Co-Presidents
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.