A Community of Friends

February 2020

President’s Message

Dear Members of Kahal Chaverim,

I hope today finds you happy and healthy! 

As you may know, we recently met for our annual Midyear Meeting. Although we had several difficult topics to discuss, it is my sincere hope that everyone felt their voices were heard at the meeting. As I listened to fellow congregants’ comments, concerns, and suggestions,  I was struck by a few simple facts. One, we are a diverse group of people, with diverse interests and opinions. Two, even in the middle of opinionated discussions, members worked hard to respect one another’s viewpoints. And three, people care deeply about the success and ongoing future of Kahal Chaverim. While we may be facing certain challenges as a congregation, we have a strong foundation upon which to continue building for the future and a dedicated group of people who want to see Kahal Chaverim succeed. 

To this end, I want to take a moment and thank a very special member of Kahal Chaverim. After hearing about our financial difficulty, one of our members and I spoke extensively on the phone about our situation. Believing in our mission and taking action where possible, this member graciously donated $5,000 to Kahal Chaverim. This wonderful gift goes a long way to help our congregation reach financial stability. On behalf of the congregation, I thank you for your support and generous donation!

An additional type of support came from members of the congregation in attendance at the meeting. As I spoke about the need for members to “step-up” and help out the congregation beyond making suggestions, people took this to heart and volunteered their time, interest, and expertise in support of Kahal Chaverim. While I will be reaching out to these people in a separate communication, if you were not at the meeting, please feel free to contact me if you have an idea on how to help Kahal Chaverim AND you are willing to put in the time to see your idea come to fruition. 

Whether you donate time or money, for Kahal Chaverim to succeed, we need everyone to participate in one manner or another.

Thank you again to everyone who attended the meeting, to those who volunteered their services, and to our member who generously donated money to our congregation.

If you are interested in attending our next Board meeting, it will be at the Miller and Boewe house, Tuesday, February 18, starting at 7:30 pm. (You may contact me directly for directions. Also, please note, for those with allergies, we have a cat and a large dog).


Calendar of Events

February 2: Sunday School, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ

February 9: Tu BiShvat Seder 10:00 am – 11:00 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ

Feburary 23: Sunday School, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ 

Feburary 23: Adult Education, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ; Bennett Muraskin will discuss Jewish folk tales

Sunday School

February 2: Sunday School, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ

February 23: Sunday School, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ

Adult Education

February 23, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ

Bennett Muraskin will lead a discussion on Jewish folk tales. Bagels and coffee will be served beginning at 9:30 am with the program commencing at 10:00 am.

Shabbat/Havdalah Services

Mark your calendars:

March 14: Havdalah to be hosted by Rick and Maxine Pascal

March 27: Shabbat Open House at Fosterfields, Morristown, NJ; details to be confirmed

Please contact Steve Shaw  (stevenshaw2040@gmail.com) if you are interested in hosting a Shabbat or Havdalah service.

February 9 Brings Our Second Annual Tu BiShvat Seder

Join us for Kahal Chaverim’s second annual Tu Bishvat Seder celebrating the New Year for Trees. All members, both adults and children alike, as well as friends and guests who would like to attend, are welcome at this unique event where, for Jews worldwide, the environment takes center stage.

This year, we are asking for donations of spare change in any amount, which will be given to the  Arbor Day Foundation to support their efforts to plant more trees around the world. Please bring your change to the seder, which will be held at Gottesman Academy, Randolph, NJ from 10:00 am until 11:00 am.

Mid-Year Meeting Held To Discuss Future of Congregation

On Sunday, January 12, the board along with other members of the Kahal Chaverim met to discuss the state of the congregation. Themes that emerged from the meeting included how to bring in additional members, the compromised financial health of the organization that results from low membership numbers, as well as how to align existing members interests and priorities with that of the congregation. In addition, there was the discussion of the need for additional help from other members to work on the board, as current board members will be winding down their terms, or  in some cases, have even surpassed the time intended to volunteer.

The results of the meeting were fruitful. A volunteer sheet circulated among the participants and members noted ways they intended to do more, from hosting a Shabbat to simply attending more congregation sponsored events. The membership directory was also circulated via email following the meeting, allowing members who choose to invite others to non-Kahal Chaverim sponsored special events, for example political events, more deftly, without board approval. (It was determined, however, that no marketing emails are permitted, and that members could opt-out from receiving these emails at any time.) Finally, and significantly, as a result of the meeting, a member donated $5000 to cover half of this year’s budget.


Registration Opens for HuJews Conclave 2020

The HuJews Conclave, a Society for Humanistic Judaism annual youth conference for teens grades 8-12 and college-age young adults, connects young humanist Jews for a weekend of fun, service, insight, and discovery. Registration is currently open for the event, which takes place in Farmington, Michigan, March 27-29. Click here for more information.

                      Board Members 2019-2020

Charlie Miller, President  
Steve Shaw, Vice President
Dawn Scocco, Treasurer
Jason Meisner, Secretary  
Jerry Appelbaum and Rick Pascal, Adult Education
Mona Boewe and Lynn Laffey, Sunday School
Blaine Riddle and Stephanie Zenna, Keeper of the Words and Blogs
Jason Gottlieb, Publicity and Website
Doug Kudler, Membership
Susan Herschman, SHJ Liason
Steve Shaw, Shabbat and Havdalah Coordinator

Newsletter by Jeri Gottlieb