5749 - Bulletin, December 1988 - Presiednt’s message
November was a hectic month for the community. It started with sadness: the death of Rosie’s father and Jody’s father-in-law. During these moments we banded together to show our caring for them and their families. Death is one of the Life Cycle events in which our Tradition helps us to express our grief with the help of family and friends. This is part of the reason for being of B’nei Israel.
Your new Board of Directors assembled and began to lay out the program for the future of our Community. Our congregation is small but the challenges are great. We are working to build an institution that will survive us and serve the generations that follow us.
But most important, I believe, is to keep the spirit that spawned our group, that inspired our beginnings, and sustained us till now, alive and burning brightly. We came together as friends with a mutual desire to express our Jewish traditions and experience the warmth of sharing meaningful holidays and coming together Friday nights and providing a Jewish education for our children. That was our purpose and God willing, we will not deviate from it.
This month I flew to Orlando to meet with Rabbi Clifford Kulwin, our contact with World Union, for a pre-arranged meeting about B’nei Israel. We had a series of meetings on Nov. 16 and 17".
We resolved that he will arrange at least four visits this coming year from at least two Rabbis, a Cantor to help us with our music program and development of a choir, and a prominent guest speaker. We might even be Jucky enough to be blessed with a return visit of Rabbi Harold Saperstein and Marcia whom we dearly love. This could occur shortly after Passover.
Rabbi Kulwin introduced me to Rabbi Allan Smith, who is an excellent resource person working with Youth programs from New York Headquarters. We discussed together the possibility of including our children in the camping activities of our American cousins. He will arrange for Costa Rica to be included in an appropriate region — perhaps Texas. Also we talked about future possibilities of arranging Israel trips for our teenagers. And yearly get-togethers of children of like ages and traditions here in Latin America. I expect to hear further news about these exciting prospects early in ’89.
I arranged that B’nei Israel be placed on all World Union Mailing Lists so we can receive constant material on current events in Reform Judaism. Rabbi Kulwin leaves for London, England in the first week of December, where he will follow up and advise us as to the disposition of our Memorial Torah.
I then flew to Miami where I met with Rabbi Leonard Schoolman of Beth Am Synagogue. Beth Am is a sister synagogue to B’nei Israel. It consists of 1200 families and every facility imaginable for a modern dynamic center of Reform Judaism. There too, I received pledges of cooperation. Rabbi Schoolman gave me a suitcase load of reference material, including pamphlets explaining “What is Reform Judaism” in Spanish and English. And I have received mail and Chanukah material since DECEMBER 1988.
I returned to Costa Rica well pleased with the trip, the promises of cooperation, and the interchange of ideas, which portends well for our Community.
Also, during the month, we came together on Nov. 9th to commemorate KRISTALLNACHT at the home of Mort Danyali. It was truly a memorable night and Ambassador Simon Moratt honoured us with his presence and recounted his personal memories of that night. He was living in Vienna at the time. The Ambassador has been unswervingly supportive of B’nei Israel and we are asked to participate, along with representatives of the Orthodox Community, at all functions.
It was my pleasure to represent B’nei Israel at the recent arrival of three officials from the town of ASHDOD, a large port in Israel, on the occasion of signing an agreement with Puntarenas, our Pacific port, to be sister communities.
Every member is important. Every opinion. The feelings of each of you as individuals. Your participation is vital, Your advice. Your work on committees. Your input into education, worship, social action. Let’s work for B’nei Israel.
Perhaps we can’t be all things for all people. But I promise you that I for one, will do my best to recognize the needs of everyone. You need B’nei Israel. Now -— right now, B’nei Israel needs you!