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Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2018

Looking back at my first year as President of the Board of Trustees, I am in awe of what we have accomplished together. Our well-attended Gala was so much fun and raised money for many important programs. Reinvigorating our volunteer committees has turned great ideas into action, providing for even better programs, policies and member experiences. The Temple office was renovated with new carpet and furniture for the first time since 1992. We added new hand rails at the entrance to the sanctuary, next to the May Chapel and next to the east parking lot, completed concrete work on our sidewalks, and repairs to the roof.

We spent a great deal of time planning for our Reimagining project, transforming Temple Israel’s education center into a comfortable and safe facility with a 21st century design. We hired a team of Lawlor Construction and Bond Architects to design and build Phase 2 of the project, beginning in 2019, thanks to the generosity of approximately 50 families who committed $3.5 million. Phase 2 focuses on safety, security, and infrastructure including a new ADA compliant ramp at the school entrance, new entry stairs, canopy, and a new security vestibule, as well as relocating the school office next to the main entrance and replacing the windows and HVAC system. Phase 2 will also include exterior tuckpointing, concrete, and roof repairs.

In early 2019 we’ll launch the Reimagining Campaign to raise funds for Phase 3, which will allow us to update the interior of our education center and includes a new infant room, new technology, flooring, wall coverings, and furniture.

We continued to operate within our financial means under the balanced 2018 budget approved by the Board of Trustees. We could not have operated in the black without your financial support. Our High Holy Days Giving Appeal was successful, exceeding our goal. Thank you! We are also thankful for those who pay their annual membership dues, as well as those who support TI as members of the Shofar Society and Rabbis’ Circle.

It’s no surprise that our support of one another is unparalleled. At Temple Israel, Judaism is better when we do it together. Sometimes that means gathering for Shabbat worship services to sing, pray, mourn, or celebrate. Sometimes we join a class for discussion or debate to learn and grow in our Judaism. We bring our children to the education center to become the next generations of mensches as they soak in Jewish values and traditions. We perform acts of loving kindness (g’milut chasadim) and take steps to repair the world (tikkun olam) as a Temple family. We give to those in need, we serve those who are marginalized, we fight for what’s right, and we do it together.

However you and your family choose to express your faith, being a member of Temple Israel means that you gain a diverse and inclusive community of people who will be right by your side as you journey through your Jewish life.

Whether you’ve been a member of Temple Israel for generations, or just picked up this Annual Report as you sit in our office lobby awaiting a meeting with our staff or Rabbis, there are a few things you should know as you navigate the pages.

Anyone who wants to take part in congregational life is invited to enjoy the programs and opportunities that we offer. We believe that a diverse community creates Jewish vibrancy, and that you add brilliance to this community just by being uniquely you. Our lay leaders, volunteers, staff, Rabbis, and members strive to be audaciously welcoming and we want you to feel right at home envisioning your face or your family on any of these pages. There are no financial barriers to you belonging, and if there should ever be an obstacle, we’ll create a new path around it.

We provide a holy space for any program or service you choose to attend, and we’re so much more! If it’s one service a year that brings you in, keep doing that! If you’re looking for more, we’ve got that too. And if we don’t have what you’re looking for, let us know. We’d love the opportunity to partner with you to create it.

We embrace change, which is necessary to move forward as an inclusive spiritual home as times and needs evolve. It is you -- yes you, reading this now -- that help us to build upon the last 132 years of innovation to shape Temple Israel for the future.

Planning for 2019, our leadership could not be more excited about the direction in which we’re headed. If you joined us for our 132nd Annual Meeting (November 30, 2018), you met the Trustees who were confirmed for a first term of Temple leadership, as well as those who have signed on for another term of board service. Each of our lay leaders, clergy, staff, volunteers, and every person who calls Temple Israel home has a sacred partnership with one another. We believe that our individual and collaborative contributions elevate holiness, and at the Annual Meeting, we celebrated that partnership by rededicating ourselves to another year of working together for the greatest good.

If you missed the Annual Meeting but are interested in becoming more involved, we would love to meet you here at Temple to share in Shabbat services or to grab a coffee and chat. Whether you know exactly where you fit or don’t yet know where to begin, we want to ensure your experience at Temple Israel is fulfilling and meaningful. We invite you into this sacred partnership with opportunities that speak to your soul. You can reach out to me directly, to our Executive Director Rachel Wallis Andreasson, or to our Rabbis, Amy and Michael. Our doors are always open. Thank you for your Sacred Partnership with Temple Israel.


Rob Litz, President

Read the full Annual Report here.


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Congregation Temple Israel

#1 Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin Dr.
(Ladue @ Spoede Road)
St. Louis, MO 63141-7670

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