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Thanks for the Memories

05/01/2019 08:30:21 PM


Terrie O’Day

Well here it is, my last Tikvahite Article as President. I truly cannot believe how fast these two years have flown by! So many wonderful things have happened over the last two years; and some not so wonderful things too. Through it all we stood together as the caring, loving community that Beth Tikvah is.

I truly must thank all of you for your support, advice, friendship and caring spirit. I have truly enjoyed our many conversations and especially getting to know those who I did not know well before. The “Ask The President” Sundays were a great avenue for that. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did! I especially loved the connections made with the students, many of whom always had such great questions for me. (Okay, I know it was mostly to get the treats I brought, but it was fun!). I have been truly fortunate to have received guidance from our esteemed past presidents, all of whom have been there with sage advice or a guiding hand as needed. I have been blessed with an amazing Executive Board to carry out these past two years. Each one of them have been extremely dedicated to putting the best interest of Beth Tikvah and her members first in all their actions. After eight years of being on the Executive Board, it will be very strange not to be there on the 1st Thursday of the month anymore. However, I am fully confident that under the leadership of Deb Bakal as your new President, you will be in excellent hands! Deb, you have been an amazing partner, and know that you will continue to shine!

The clergy and staff that we have are truly amazing in all that they give to, and for, our community. Rabbi Tachman and Cantorial Leader Ilana Axel have seen us through the simchas and the sadness with their leadership, guidance, and calming presence. They are a team that brings spirituality, education, awareness, and caring to all of our community! Whether it is leading Shabbat Services, High Holy Days, helping us navigate life cycle events, and more. Thank you for always being here for our community!

Rokki Parrinello and Mandy Thalhammer, Co-Principals of the Religious School continue to bring their creative ideas to life and make it easy for our students to learn and want to stay here through 12th grade and beyond! We have teachers here today that were once students and/or have gone on to have careers in the Jewish community as well. These teachers are an impressive group who all let their dedication for bringing a Jewish identity to our children shine through! Thank you all so much for all that you do and give for our children!

Ellyn Weisz, Director of the ECC, lays the foundation to begin that lifelong path to Jewish identity and learning! Ellyn and the wonderful teachers of the ECC fill our youngest children with the joy and inquisitiveness they will need to be successful as they progress into the Religious School. The bond created with those children and families is remarkable! Thank you so much for all you do for our community!

Lucy Howell, our office administrator, is often the first face or voice of Beth Tikvah; she really sets the tone for our prospective members. Thank you for all that you do to keep our little congregation running smoothly! To Bobby and Chris, our maintenance staff who work so hard to keep things around here clean and in good repair, we thank you sincerely for all that you do!

With all the fabulous clergy and staff that we are fortunate to have, truly the heart of Beth Tikvah lies within its general population. You. The people who make up the Beth Tikvah Community. The genuine care and concern that I see you have for each other is beyond compare. The generosity and love that I see expressed each and every day is truly something to behold. The way you all come together when a need arises; whether it is to lend a simple hand, to take on a project, or to lead a committee or a task force, you come running! This is what keeps Beth Tikvah running and what makes us a truly special place; a place where people want to be. I am so very grateful to all of you for taking such good care of each other! Never lose that!

We have so many things going on at Beth Tikvah right now. We had a fabulous Roaring 20’s Casino Night Fundraiser thanks to the dedication of Scott Lesht, Lori Trachtenberg, Jody Egel and their fabulous Ways & Means Committee.

We have begun work on the Our House Lobby/Hallway Renovation project. This project will be going on throughout the month of May and finishing up in early June. I will continue to work on this project with the wonderful Our House Committee members and am happy to answer any questions you may have. My deepest gratitude to the Our House Committee (Ilene Lanin-Kettering, Lorrie Galek, Steve Schlesinger, Eric Singer, Mike Myers, Sharon Faier, Debbie Krupp, Howard Washer, Victoria Vrtjak, Harvey Pokorny, Bruce Cohen, David Fiedler, Robbie Sax, Scott Lesht, and Deb Bakal) for all their hard work, and especially to all those who provided their most generous donations to make this project a reality! This would not have happened without all of you!

We all participated in the URJ Congregational Survey and Benchmarking Project. Thank you to all who completed the surveys. We had the most participation of any congregation in the three years that the URJ has been conducting this program! The analysis of survey data has begun and will be reported in May/June.

Some of the highlighted accomplishments this year include:

  • The addition of our beautiful new Sanctuary chairs! We prepared for High Holy Days by welcoming in our beautiful new chairs, thanks to the hard work and generosity of Debbie Krupp and the Susan Lynn Krupp Fund. We thank you so much for this generous gift!
  • We had an AMAZING Congregational Retreat in February at OSRUI with a fabulous turnout - the highest number of attendees ever—over 260! Great fun was had by all. Watch for news of next retreat in 2021! Thank you again to Ruth Schlossberg, Pam Altman, and your fabulous Retreat Planning committee for bringing this to fruition!
  • We are preparing for the move to ShulCloud, our new temple database management system, that will include a new website, the ability to pay online for dues, and to register and pay for events, religious school, and ECC. You will be hearing more about this as the implementation progresses.
  • Security Enhancements continue as our Security Committee, led by Bruce Cohen (Thank you!) works with the Hoffman Estates Police Department and the JUF/DHS/ADL Security Task Force on measures to keep us safe in these unpredictable times. We will again apply for the new 2019 Security Grant when released.

Last, but certainly not least, I must thank Matt Hallaron for his expertise in creating the Tikvahite for these many years! Matt has mastered the art of compiling the submitted articles into a truly lovely readable format for all to enjoy! This is not an easy task by any means. My thanks to you, Matt!

Overall, this has been an amazing journey and I have been so honored to represent Beth Tikvah Congregation as your President. I can’t wait to see what our incoming leadership team has in store for us in the years to come!

With gratitude to all!

Humbly yours,
Terrie O’Day, President

Fri, July 3 2020 11 Tammuz 5780