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SEMI-ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL REPORT January - July 2020

Dear Congregants,

Please note: In lieu of our usual in-person meeting, we are presenting this report due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We will have a meeting in December, in person if it is safe to do so. If not, the meeting and elections will be conducted via Zoom.

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

 

-What an extraordinary year it has been so far!

-In January we had our Installation of Officers during our Friday evening service. This was preceded by dinner. The Immediate Past President, Barry Weiss, was honored for his hard work and dedication during his 4 year Presidency.

-Also in January we had our initial Neighbors in Conversation meeting with St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church, which is located 1 block away from us. Approximately 30 of their members, along with their pastor, Reverend John McLaughlin, came to the synagogue after their Sunday morning service to learn about our traditions and tour our building. They were thrilled to see the Torah scroll and hear a short reading by Rabbi Kenter.

-We had our very first Tu B’Shevat seder after our Shabbat morning service. It was interesting to learn about the many different fruits.

-As of mid March we closed our building and ended in-person services.

Pesach seders were held via Zoom.

-One positive outcome was Warm up to Shabbat, held via Zoom on Fridays at 6pm with live music and prayers. It was very well received and became an important way of connecting with our community.

-Our IT guru, Roxie Schram, has been working closely with us to protect our data, improve our WiFi capabilities and facilitate events on Zoom for us and our congregants.

-We conducted a Rabbi Search from August of 2019 to June 2020, including hosting a candidate visit using strict public health precautions including face masks, social distancing and limiting events to 10 persons total.

-Success! By an overwhelming majority, Rabbi Chaya Bender was approved to serve as our new rabbi beginning on July 1st. We now have Zoom Services weekly on Friday evening & Shabbat mornings.

-We said “Farewell” to Rabbi Barry Kenter at the end of June with a special celebration and tribute for his leadership during the last 10 months. The music was coordinated by Rabbi Waxman and it was a beautiful event.

-After damage from a severe thunderstorm during a roof replacement and additional damage from Hurricane Florence, our Sanctuary renovation is finally underway!

-And our latest good news: A grant from Carolina Foundation for Jewish Seniors was received for expanding our Sunshine Meals program. It will now be “Bnai Israel Sunshine Team.”

-In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to move forward and provide our members with all the benefits of being a part of our Bnai Israel family.

 

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your President,

Michelle Bannon

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

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