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President, Bryna Rosen Misiura

Full Bulletin Message

Chaverim:

 

Well, here we are! At the end of this month, my three years as President of Temple Tiferet Shalom come to close, and Jodi Coburn capably takes the reins as your President. Eight years ago, Past President Dr. Ed Weiner told me that being President would be one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life, and most importantly, would enable me to make a difference to the Jewish community. He was right.

 

Over the past three years, our Temple has transformed and evolved. When I took over as President, the COVID vaccine had just come out, and my daughters had just spent the entire year learning from our dining room table. We at the Temple were still closely watching all attendance and social distancing rules to try to have in-person Temple services, particularly high holiday services. Gratefully, we were able to have in-person high holiday services in the Fall of 2021 and since.

 

We were planning a multi-million-dollar renovation of the Temple.  How does one fundraise and plan that size renovation, particularly as the cost of materials was skyrocketing post-COVID? But with completely dedicated building and fundraising committees, the climb toward Mount Everest -- our dream of a Temple building that would last for the next 25-50 years -- became reality. And the capstone of the project – the TTS Gala in the Spring of 2023 – celebrating the completion of the building project was a real high point!

 

We also faced a change in Rabbinical leadership. Rabbi Kudan was our post-consolidation spiritual leader for eight years, and many more for our family from Malden. Change is never easy, and his loss was difficult for many, but with Rabbi Evan Sheinhait, we found a kind, highly capable spiritual leader who has built strong ties across our community, including our youth and families. This is so important because we want to grow the future of our community and serve as the home for Reform Jews on the North Shore.

 

With our Music Director Bryna Toder Tabasky’s retirement in 2023, we took an interim step and welcomed a cantorial intern, Lisa Schnapper, for a one-year internship. Now we search for our next music leader. We are making progress with that and hope this summer we will have good news to report. 

 

I wish I could leave the Temple at a time when things were settled in the world, when Israel was at peace, and when sentiment toward Jewish people was strongly positive. I had the opportunity to grow up in Peabody at a time (1960’s-1980’s) when the Jewish Community was booming, and I thought antisemitism was a thing of the past. I wish our children had this same opportunity. How is it that we live in a world where Ivy League schools cannot be trusted to research and make good decisions based on historical fact? 

 

I pray that someday the many peoples of the world will realize that we all must support and take care of each other for us all to survive and thrive, and that this time of divisiveness, hate, and scapegoating will end.

 

Though I cannot solely solve these bigger problems, I take considerable solace that we all have each other. I leave the Temple Tiferet Shalom community strong with a bright future. However, I ask you to remember that this bright future is dependent on what we all collectively invest in it – with effort, leadership, and financial resources.

 

I wish it were possible to operate a Temple without donations of leadership and financial investment. It is not. To thrive, it is essential we ask for and receive both. Temple Tiferet Shalom is a non-profit organization. All its committee leaders, board members, and officers are volunteers. Financial donations are critical to meet our operating budget. Though we recently have made small increases in our dues structure after holding them steady for numerous years before that, dues alone are insufficient to meet our needs. 

 

For that, we need to ask for financial donations. The reality is that our goals are limited by financial resources, like any other non-profit organization. Every year, the wish list changes. Right now, it is to hire a cantor and to replace our yellowing High Holiday and worn out year-round Torah Covers. On the horizon is to replace some of our worn prayer books. Please consider Temple Tiferet Shalom in your annual donation planning and also in your estate planning. There used to be a time when Jewish community members routinely made a provision for their Temple in their will. This doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but the need is no less.

 

I also hope everyone in this congregation will consider volunteering to be a leader – whether it is volunteering to take lead in the setup/cleanup of an Oneg, in planning a singular event, or serving on a committee, the Board of Trustees or as an officer. We have room for everyone to step up. And what’s more is that we need your many talents. Many of the people serving in leadership roles have done this for a long time. Change is essential for progress and for keeping ourselves relevant and important to an ever-changing Jewish community. 

 

During our Annual Congregational Meeting, I will be thanking the many people who have helped us this year. Countless people have helped me navigate the past three years. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. They say it takes a village. What a village I have had the privilege of working with! That is the magic of leadership – when everyone contributes to rowing the boat forward, making this amazing Jewish congregation – our Jewish family – possible.

 

With a heart full of gratitude,

 

Bryna Rosen Misura

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