Presidents Blog

From Our PAST President: Melissa Brooks

Past Messages::>

December 2016
As I am writing this, I am taking a break from preparing for our Thanksgiving meal.

 When I think about what I am grateful for, one of the items on my list is that I am grateful to be able to serve as the synagogue president
– at least until it comes time to write my monthly bulletin article.

We had a wonderful Shabbat service, kiddush and Torah discussion last Saturday. 
 Our rabbi is amazing – not only did she chant from the Torah in Hebrew, she then proceeded to chant in English.
 We had an interesting Torah discussion about the importance of welcoming guests and how that relates to our modern day situation on a personal and government level.
 Please consider coming to our next Torah service on Saturday, December 17th at 10 A.M.  It is a mitzvah to attend – we need at least 10 of us there in order to read from the Torah.

Ken Steinman wrote an article in this month’s bulletin about the importance of volunteering.
  We have a great volunteer opportunity coming up.  On Friday, December 30th we will have a Hanukkah party at 6 P.M.
  We need volunteers to help make latkes ahead of time and bring them to the party.  We also need volunteers to help with set-up and clean-up.
  Please e-mail me if you can volunteer for any of these activities.

I continue to hear good things about the adult Hebrew class which is being taught by Brian Cohen.
  I know that my husband, Carmi who is taking the class is learning a lot.  In order to complete the 10 chapters in the text Aleph Isn’t Tough, the class has been extended until January 11th.

I am looking forward to our potluck/Eating Your Way Through Jewish Italy presentation on Sunday, December 11th at 6 P.M.
  As you might guess, the potluck theme is “Italian”.  Michael Banks has put together a fantastic power-point picture presentation along with take-home recipes.

We continue to add new members to our congregation.  A big welcome to our newest member – Jeanne Langridge.  

November 2016

We had a small but warm turnout for our Sukkot service. It was warm because rather than going into the sukkah we decorated the sanctuary.
Rabbi Emily and Neil led us in a rousing service and we heard an entertaining story about the most beautiful Lulav and Etrog.
This is one of the times of the year that I miss our former member Rebecca Garcia.
Rebecca would make Etrog jelly and would bring the jelly along with her homemade challah to our oneg.

It was nice to see so many of our members, former members and guests at our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
I am glad to see the interest in our Beginning Hebrew class.
The class begins on Wednesday, November 2nd – it will meet for 8 sessions.
It will be a great class with Brian Cohen as the teacher and a very engaging text – Aleph Isn’t Tough.

Thank you to everybody who brought bags for the Jewish Family Service Food Drive.
We filled two large containers. Our next social event is on Sunday, November 13th. We will have a potluck at 6 P.M.
and then will be entertained with a power-point presentation on Eating Your Way Through Jewish Italy. Hope you can join us.

Our November calendar is full – we have a Friday night Shabbat service with Rabbi Emily and Noah Weinstein on Friday, November 4th.
On Friday, November 11th, we will join Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle
for their 6 P.M. Shabbat service. They will have their artist in residence Noah Arenson.
Noah is currently serving as creative director of Sacred Music N.Y. He has released twoalbums.
On Saturday, November 19th we will have a Torah service at 10 A.M. followed by a lunch and Torah study.
The cost of the lunch/Torah study is $10.

For those of you that have registered for the Fred Meyer Community Rewards program – you might not be aware that in July you needed to relink your Rewards card to our synagogue.
Check out the bulletin for instructions on how to re-link your card.

I am hoping to see many of you at our High Holiday services.
Our High Holiday services will be led by Rabbi Emily Meyer with our cantorial soloist Neil Weinstein.
Under their leadership, the services are truly inspiring.
Neil has been prepping the High Holiday choir with some new and old selections. Our shofar blowers,
the “Rock-a-Shofarians” have been busy practicing.

We have some social events coming up:

  • Wolf Haven tour – Learn about wolves, both in captivity and in the wild.
    See some of the wolves while enjoying a 50 minute guided walking visit of the sanctuary.
     Sunday, Oct. 16th – meet at the synagogue parking lot at 11 A.M.
    Please RSVP to: Melissa Brooks –
  •  Potluck dinner & Slideshow presentation – Eating your way through Jewish Italy Sunday, Nov. 13th 6 P.M. 

We also have an Adult Education class coming up:
 Beginning Hebrew – starting in November, this class will meet on Wednesdays at 7 P.M. at the synagogu.e
It will run for 8 weeks.
Using a new Hebrew book for adult learners Aleph Isn’t Tough,
The class will be directed specifically for those who want to learn Hebrew in worship.
The book has sections on Hebrew word roots which are immensely helpful in understanding
some of the thinking and spirit of the language.

I want to recognize a few people who have been particularly invaluable in their volunteer efforts:

  •  Susan Demner – Susan was our yarhtzeit person for many years. She sent out the yarhtzeit notices and
    compiled our Yiskor service Book of Remembrance.
    Susan has moved on to other endeavors – we wish her the best.
  •  Nancy Blase – Nancy is our Religious committee chair plus our greeter extraordinair.e
    In addition to these tasks she is in charge of listening to our voicemail messages
    and passing the information on to the appropriate people.
    Nancy recently took on the task of organizing our new machzors tubs for easier access
    and carrying from our shed to the sanctuaryL’Shana Tova 


President’s message Sept. 2016

Hope everybody is enjoying their last summer days.  I always think of this time of the year as “back to school”
even though I am retired and no longer have to go back to working as an elementary school counselor.

Some of us recently attended a Jewish Genealogy conference.  Rivy Poupko Kletenik gave the keynote address:
“What’s Jewish About Jewish Genealogy?”   Some of the key points in her address were:

  • A Jewish name has a role and is a part of our identity.  People with the last names of “Cohen” or “Levi” had defined roles during biblical times.
      Some surnames have to do with professions such as tailor or scribe.  It is a Jewish tradition to name a child after a dead relative.
  • The book of Exodus is a story that begins with names.  It is about bringing these lives back to life
    – giving us meaning – knowing who we are and honoring what is before us.
  • Way back to Abraham our covenant with G-d is to do tzedakah. 
    We have an obligation to be moral and to do righteousness in this world.
  • G-d is present when you know your genealogy. is a free website for looking up information.
  If you are interested in getting started; talking to relatives, the oldest first, is a good way to get started.
  Make notes or record what you learn.  Look for photographs.  Look online for newspaper records of death notices, marriages and weddings.

On a different note, thank you to our Sisterhood for donating the money to purchase 10 more sets of the new High Holiday machzor Mishkan Hanefesh.
  It will be nice to have a large enough collection of books for our High Holiday services this year. 

We have two Shabbat services and a Selichot service in September (check the bulletin calendar).
  Checking our synagogue website: “” is another good way to keep up to date on synagogue happenings.

If you have already sent back your volunteer interest sheet, thank you!  If you haven’t, please fill it out and send it back.
  We need everybody’s help.



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