Report on our Upcoming Rabbinic Search and Other Changes

Richard Lesse, President

“We change, whether we like it or not.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Along with moments of change come periods of transition and that is where we find our BCC community — in an ongoing period of transition with several key changes.

As you likely have heard by now, our beloved Senior Rabbi Lisa Edwards will be retiring and transitioning to Rabbi Emerita at the end of July 2019. Rabbi Lisa will have served as BCC’s rabbi for 25 years. And while I’m sad to think of BCC without Rabbi Lisa at the helm, my sadness is eased knowing she, and Tracy, will still be part of our BCC family and, as Emerita, will still be part of our clergy team.

I’m also excited by the possibilities that a new, or at least a different, rabbi might bring to BCC. Seeing BCC through a new set of eyes will help us set a bright vision for BCC’s future.

At the Congregational Meeting in July we discussed the pros and cons of the two types of rabbinic search we can conduct. Option one would be to bring in an interim rabbi for one year to help guide us through this period of change and transition. Interim rabbis are specifically trained to help congregations with clergy changes. Option two would be to search for a “settled” rabbi, one who would be with us for some years to come.

It was a lively and really helpful discussion and I appreciate the opinions given and the questions asked by members of the congregation. It’s a serious topic and it was great to see our community come together to discuss it.

At the August Board of Directors meeting, the Board voted unanimously to pursue “option one,” a search for an interim rabbi. We expect to welcome this interim rabbi to our congregation on July 1, 2019 and they would be with us for one year while we conduct our search for a settled rabbi.

We’re currently working on the interim rabbi application, which we hope to submit it to the CCAR Rabbinic Placement Committee before the end of September. We’re also forming both a Rabbinic Search Committee and a Rabbinic Transition Committee. If you’re interested in serving on, or co-chairing, either committee, or if you have any questions about the search process, please contact me at

In addition to the rabbinic search discussion, at the Congregational Meeting we also voted in four new at-large members to the Board of Directors: Allison Diamant, Donna Quigley Groman, Jim Potter, and Elizabeth Savage. We also voted to move Jay Jacobs from Secretary to Vice President and Marsha Epstein, who was an at-large Board member, is now BCC’s Secretary. At-large Board members Marc Gottehrer and Maggie Parkhurst were re-elected for additional terms. And finally, Brett Trueman’s appointment as Executive Vice President was confirmed. Please join me in congratulating and thanking all of them for their service to our community!

While welcoming them to their new roles, we also say goodbye to a few members stepping down from the Board after years of service: BCC Vice President Ginger Jacobs and Board members Ira Dankberg and Everlyn Hunter. I thank each of them for their vital contributions to the Board and to BCC’s various programs and committees. Please thank them when you see them.

We also announced that Rae Antonoff is BCC’s new Director of Education, responsible for our Ohr Chayim program. Rae has been an Ohr Chayim teacher for several years and we’re excited to welcome her to her new role!

I also want to report that we’ve signed a new three-year contract extension with Cantor Juval Porat, who will be an important part of guiding our community through this period of transition.

Elissa Barrett’s time as our Interim Executive Director is coming to an end at the end of September. Please join me in thanking Elissa for her leadership over these last months as we wish her the very best in an exciting new position she’s starting at another organization. We are in the process of searching for a new full-time executive director, whom we hope to have in place as soon as possible.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one more change… The year 5779 is upon us. I look forward to seeing all of you at services during the Days of Awe. I wish each and every one of you a sweet New Year. L’Shana Tova.

How we Can Help to Sustain our BCC Community and Each Other

Michael King, BCC Treasurer

“Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh – All of Israel are responsible for each other”

For thousands of years, synagogue life and Jewish life have been inseparable. Synagogues are central to our communities, not just as places to gather a minyan for worship, but also as places to celebrate holy unions, births of children, and b’nai mitzvah. We support one another to be better humans, and to better serve G-d’s purpose for us on Earth. We look after those who are ill while they return to good health, we do for the elderly tasks they are no longer able to perform, and we offer guidance and protection to children in our midst.

There is no invitation to participate in Jewish life; we are instead obligated to concern ourselves with the welfare of those around us. And so joining a community – a synagogue community – begins the fulfillment of that obligation.

Commitment to our community involves talking with your neighbors and finding out what is happening in their lives; it involves using the talents given us by G-d sometimes to lead our peers and other times to follow; it involves learning from the learned and passing our knowledge on to the next generation; and yes, “commitment” involves offering our financial support to the extent we’re each able.

Our BCC community consists of many layers and dimensions of beauty, talent, knowledge, and compassion. That richness comes together in our physical space and is facilitated by our clergy, staff, and lay leadership.

BCC’s family provides about 55% of our needed financial support each year through the membership commitments of individual households. Our annual awards brunch provides about 15% of our needs, and our High Holy Day activities bring in slightly under 10%. Miscellaneous donations – those “just-because” gifts offered by members, automobile donations, cantor’s concerts, women’s theater events – net BCC not quite 10%.

Even after all that, the last 10-15% – or $50,000 – $75,000 – of our annual needs remain a struggle to meet. If you’re like me, that sounds like a lot – and it is, if we think of it in terms of feeding and clothing our individual families, or when compared to the cost of our own housing and transportation. Yet in community, it’s much more attainable. It translates to about $7.50 – or about half the cost of a lunch – per week, per family.

Through our awareness and our attentiveness, we can make this show up for BCC. One of the best ways to ensure BCC’s future is to help our community grow – that is, to invite your unaffiliated friends and acquaintances to come to our events and to worship with us. Share our events on social media. Be an ambassador for BCC in your work and in your social engagements, that community awareness helps us better partner with others in tikkun olam. Consider underwriting a concert or a class, or perhaps our not-so-sexy utility and insurance expenses. And consider a legacy gift to BCC.

Your involvement, no matter how great, makes a difference. YOU make the difference.
Shana Tova,

Farewell and Thanks from our Interim Executive Director

Dear BCC Friends and Family,

Thank you for the chance to get to know all of you better during these last eight months of my tenure as Interim Executive Director. We’ve accomplished many amazing things during our time together!

· Social justice work around racial justice, immigrant rights, voter engagement and homelessness prevention
· A hugely successful and super fabulous 2018 Vision Awards brunch
· Upgrades to building security and renovation of our lobby
· Extremely well attended Congregational Meeting
· Transitions in staff and board leadership
· And so much more …

Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time, energy, passion, wisdom and guidance. You are too numerous to thank individually. I am grateful for all that you do and are.

Elissa Barrett
Interim Executive Director
BCC Member since 2001

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