Congregational Address by Beth Am President Bruce Ives, Sunday, April 9, 2017 | Congregation Beth Am

Congregational Address by Beth Am President Bruce Ives, Sunday, April 9, 2017

Congregational Address by Beth Am President Bruce Ives, Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thank you Loree. I’m grateful not only for your kind words today, but for all of your support throughout the transition process.

While you leave very big shoes to fill, you’ve also pointed the way forward by your example.

When I think of your tenure as President I am struck by 2 things. The first was your very intentional efforts at foresight.

You took a very large and successful congregation and insisted that we not become complacent, that we look to the world around us to assess threats and opportunities and to act.

So we looked hard at the findings from our blue-ribbon team on Project Micah that assessed how the threats to modern Jewish practice identified in the Pew Study could impact us.

From there you challenged us to craft Vision statements about where we wanted to go as a Congregation on the key pillars that make up our foundation: worship, community, learning, justice and operations.
And you organized our Board into Pillar teams to craft those visions, survey current conditions, and make action plans for the future.

All very thoughtful, strategic and evidencing great foresight. And that will be our path forward – to continue to scan the horizon and move quickly to take advantage of opportunities and address threats, starting with our upcoming Board retreat in June where we’ll talk about the biggest challenges we face and dive even deeper to execute on solutions.

The second thing that struck me about your Presidency has to do with the unforeseen.

There is an old saying that if you want to make God laugh just make a plan. And so despite all best laid plans you were confronted with the challenge of finding us a new home for the High Holy Days and guiding us to that place.

This you did, through many planning sessions with Rachel and Rabbi Marder, through countless Board discussions, through emotional listening sessions with our Congregation and finally through beautiful services where your wise words reminded us that a building is a generic container that we make sacred with our worship and we make our own by filling the space with our own values.

So today we all say thanks, for the vision and foresight you have provided and for your example of grace under pressure to guide us as we confront the unforeseen challenges that lie ahead.

Todah rabah – thank you, and yasher koach on a job well done!

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We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).