Dear WJC Family and Friends,

It has been an extraordinarily busy time at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation as we all know. With our longtime Executive Director, Karen Tashman, gone, Rabbi Jonathan, the staff, the WJC Board of Directors, and shul members have all assumed some of Karen's duties to ensure a smooth transition. Gwen Tapper's remarkable efforts — as well as those of the many volunteers who worked with her — created an atmosphere in which a moving and nourishing High Holy Days unfolded. Under a new tent configuration, Rabbi Jonathan's teachings and guidance during services felt equally new and very fresh. The tent was filled to overflowing with some congregants sitting outside the tent on the grass because all of the seats were filled. It was an enriching and enlightening experience for all who were there.

Our search for an Executive Director is still underway. The search committee has received numerous applications and conducted interviews. As the search continues, the executive committee is reconfiguring some of the staff's duties until a new Executive Director is hired. Several board members are also volunteering extra hours in the office to ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly. This will allow the search committee and the board additional leeway to find the right Executive Director candidate.

Board President Rondavid Gold is stepping down as president after the Thursday, October 20 board meeting to pursue his new role as a snowbird. Vice-President Jerry Lerner will assume the presidency.

Michele Lerner will be chairing this year's Keter Shem Tov fundraiser on Saturday, November 19 at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory. The event will honor Ron Carleton, whose expert leadership as board president during the Great Recession was key to the shul's continued steadiness as congregations around the nation faced difficult times. Keter Shem Tov tickets start at $125 per person and members are encouraged to attend if at all possible. Along with the annual yard sale, this is one of two key fundraisers the WJC depends on. Reservations are required.

Our current art exhibit, Resistance is the Lesson, which details in photographs and text more than 20 acts of resistance against Nazi oppression during World War II, has been a huge success. As a result, a special closing reception and panel discussion has been scheduled for 12-2 p.m. on October 23.

A new member Shabbat will be held on Saturday, November 12 and there are plans for special Sunday brunches at the shul with Rabbi Jonathan offering teachings and providing an opportunity for discussion. The schedule will be announced. An announcement will also be made shortly about plans for the SPARKS effort to initiate a Beit Midrash program, in addition to the one-on-one mentoring already underway. The new program will allow for group study of a particular topic.

 At the Third Congregational Sharing held at the WJC on September 11, coordinators were assigned key activities. They are: Shabbat dinners, Cynthia Werthamer; Walking/hiking/biking group, Avis Toochin; Study Groups (Book Group, Jewish Book Group), Stacey Brooks; Institutional Archive Creation, Joe Toochin; Connecting to Israel, Bruria Falik; Social Activities & Fun, Nathan Brenowitz; Intergenerational Activities, Miryam Sarsheen; Men's Group/ Women's Group, Bette & Ron Sank; Cooking Club, Avis Toochin; Performing Arts Group, Glen Weiss; Other, Laurie Mozian; Volunteer at WJC Table, Sasha Gillman; SPARKS, Pauline Tamari. Other groups and programs suggested were: Arts & crafts workshops, Swimming, Consciousness Raising Groups, Continuous Care Community Building, WJC On-Line Bulletin Board, Ride Sharing Program to NYC, and a Community Garden.

If you were inspired by Rabbi Jonathan's teachings at the High Holy Days, this is the perfect time to continue to maintain the glow into the New Year by participating more fully in the WJC community. Join a committee or connect with one of the volunteers who have agreed to organize the above programs. Come dance with the Torahs at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 24 for Simchat Torah. Bring your little ones to Tot Shabbat at 5 p.m. on the first Friday evening of the month, attend the Yiddish group on Wednesday mornings, or join us at services. There's something for everyone. We need the participation of each one of us for a strong and secure community.

Shanah Tovah.

WJC Board of Directors