Dear Fellow Congregants:
I hope this letter finds you all healthy and enduring the lockdown with good spirits. Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 7
th, 2020. Although we will not be able to assemble in person for this meeting, we will proceed with the Annual Meeting via Zoom. Enclosed with this letter you will find the Annual Meeting agenda as well as a brief profile of the slate of officers and new trustees.
Since our world changed in mid-March, Rabbi Burg and Abby Woloff have worked hard to maintain shabbat services that are engaging and spiritually fulfilling. Rabbi Burg, Rabbi Kelley and our programming director Jaime Aaron have developed a rich and creative menu of Zoom-based programs for families and youth. Rabbi Kelley quickly stepped up to the challenge and adapted the Jewish Discovery Lab to an on-line experience. Our Executive Director, David Rothenberg has been working tirelessly to keep the synagogue running from his home office and making certain that our livestream Shabbat services come off flawlessly each week. We are incredibly fortunate to have this talented and dedicated team of clergy and staff.
We hope that in-person worship will be permitted soon, although we expect that the current virtual format will likely continue for several more weeks. We want this period to be one of engagement and want to know what more we can do for you, our congregation. Is there a programming idea that you want to suggest? Is there an aspect of the virtual programs or Shabbat services that you feel can be improved? Please let us hear from you!
Many of you may be wondering what the High Holy Day experience will be this year. In early March we assembled a Covid-19 Task Force to advise us on our response to the pandemic. The Task Force has now pivoted to focus on how and when we can begin returning to the building and what High Holy Day services may look like. We will keep you apprised of the potential scenarios this summer as the outlook for the fall becomes clearer.
Be well and I look forward to joining you virtually at our next Shabbat service!
ANNUAL MEETING OF BETH AM MEMBERSHIP
SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2020
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Note: This meeting will be conducted via Zoom. A Zoom meeting invite
will be emailed to the congregation several days prior to the meeting.
Welcome and President Remarks
Report of the Board Nominating Committee
Election & Installation of Officers and Proposed New Trustees
Beth Am in the Era of Covid-19
High Holy Days
Strategic Planning Process & Timeline Update
Annual Fund Update
FY 20120-21 Budget and Long-range Forecast
Slate of Nominees
President: Jonathan Fishman
st VP: Adina Amith
nd VP: Sally Scott
Secretary: Bonnie Guralnick
Treasurer: Bob Wittenstein
Trustees Proposed for a Three-Year Term (2020-2023)
Nominee Profiles: Officers
Jonathan Fishman, President: Jonathan Fishman’s family has a long history with Beth Am. His parents were among the earliest members: Sara served as synagogue president from 1984 – 1987. Nelson wrote the Synagogue by-laws. Jonathan and his wife Gail were married on the bimah and have been members since moving to Baltimore in 1995. Jonathan previously served as the President of the Maryland Region of the Jewish National Fund. Jonathan is currently on the national board of the Friends of the Aravah Institute and he served as co-chair of the Beth Am Building Task Force. Jonathan is also an architect and entrepreneur. After practicing architecture for over thirty years, he sold his practice and developed the Accelerator Building, a 100-year-old former Chevrolet dealership in the Govans neighborhood, now repurposed as a shared commercial kitchen for over 35 businesses, an event venue, and a brewery & taproom.
Adina Amith, 1st VP: Adina Amith joined Beth Am in 1990. She became a board member and membership chair soon after joining Beth Am. As membership chair she assumed the existing role of welcoming new members, but also began to engage in outreach within the community. She served in that position on and off for over 10 years. In 2014 she co-chaired Beth Am’s 40
th Anniversary celebration, currently serves on the Annual Fund Committee, and assists the Development Committee. Adina had also served as Secretary and Second Vice-President of the Beth Am Board. She and her husband Cy, a former Beth Am president, Annual Fund chair, and current co-chair of the Development Committee, have 3 children who became B’nai Mitzvot at Beth Am. When not at Beth Am, Adina is a lawyer who teaches at University of Baltimore Law School, has served as a board member and officer of the Committee for Jewish Education, part of The Associated, where she chaired the Israel and Overseas Committee. She is a director of the Gil Sandler Fund, Inc., which supports Speech & Debate at Baltimore City College High School and sits on the board of the Fund for Educational Excellence.
Sally Scott, 2
: Sally is an organizational and community development consultant living and working in the Baltimore area. She is currently consulting for the Baltimore City Committee of the Community Development Network of Maryland, providing support for action team initiatives on connecting health and community development, developing an equitable development framework for Baltimore, and strengthening local advocacy efforts. Sally is also providing organizational development services to the Immigration Outreach Service Center in Northeast Baltimore City. Sally has experience and success with coalition building, policy advocacy, and strategic planning. She has worked effectively with nonprofits, small developers, foundations, and local and state government to address critical community issues. A member of Beth Am since 1993, she has served as the Social Action Committee Co-Chair, a member of the Board of Directors, and a strategic planning consultant for IFO (In, For, Of). She is currently a member of the Beth Am Strategic Planning Committee.
Bonnie Guralnick, Secretary
: Bonnie has been part of the Beth Am community since the mid 1970’s. She is a regular at Shabbat services. For many years, she has served other worshippers as well by greeting, managing honors, and doing whatever else is needed. Bonnie is also a valued lay leader. She served on the Beth Am Board as Kiddush Chair, and is again on the Board as Social Action Chair. Bonnie works at Johns Hopkins University in human resources. She has an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and a MAS from Johns Hopkins University.
Bob Wittenstein, Treasurer
: Bob has a very broad range of business experience He holds a BS in Quantitative Business Analysis from The Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the Kenan Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina. He was a management consultant with Ernst and Young, spent nine years with IBM in various finance positions, and was a vice president of finance with American Express, the CFO of a media startup (think YouTube before YouTube) before starting his own company. Currently Bob owns the Raleigh Durham, NC franchise of The Cleaning Authority. This franchise services approximately 1,100 customers. Bob is also the General Manager of the three Cleaning Authority franchises in Maryland that collectively serve over 2,300 customers and employ over 140 individuals. Bob and his wife Lisa and daughter Sammie moved to Baltimore from Chapel Hill, NC in 2011. Lisa is a Professor at the UMD School of Social Work and Sammie is a junior at Roland Park Country School. They have been members of Beth Am for seven plus years.
Nominee Profiles: New Trustees
Jim Jacobs, Trustee: Jim has been a business attorney for over 40 years, with Jacobs & Dembert, P.A. for the last 22 years. He represents a broad range of businesses, including health care providers, airport concessionaires, and contract pharmaceutical manufacturers. Jim and his wife, Hillary, have been Beth Am members since 1981. They were married there (in 94 degree weather, before air conditioning) and both sons, Ben and Asher, celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs in our sanctuary. He is a regular at Shabbat services. Jim’s prior Beth Am Board service is from 1983-1987; 2004-2011; 2018 – present; serving as First Vice President in 2004-2005 and President in 2005-2007. He has served on the Development Committee and as Annual Fund chair and co-chair. He has been a Board member of In For Of, Inc., from 2013 – present; Secretary 2013 – 2017. Jim is continuing his membership on the board after serving a three-year term. He recently joined the Board of St. Francis Neighborhood Center in Reservoir Hill. Jim has served an important function at Beth Am in helping to avoid scheduling conflicts with Ravens games
Brian Whippo, Trustee: Brian joined Beth Am in 2011 with his wife Monica; Rabbi Burg married them on the old bimah in August before there was A/C. He was born and raised in Reisterstown-Owings Mills, was a member of Adat Chaim congregation, and received a BS in Financial Economics with a Minor in English Writing from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Brian has worked for Morgan Stanley for 11 years in a variety of global roles across operations and project management, specializing in exchange-traded derivatives. Brian is continuing his membership on the board after serving a three-year term. He has contributed worked with others to upgrade the membership database, assisted with an executive director transition, and assessed the feasibility of creating an early childhood education program serving both Beth Am and its neighbors.
David Rocah, Trustee
: David joined Beth Am in 2017, when he reconnected with Jewish communal life, ritual, and practice following the death of his father. He is originally from Chicago, where he attended elementary and middle school at Anshe Emet, and where Rabbi Burg served before coming to Beth Am (though David graduated decades before Rabbi Burg arrived there). He lives down Eutaw Place from the synagogue in Bolton Hill with his wife Lisa, and daughter Elena, who recently became a Bat Mitzvah at Beth Am in 2019. David is a Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland, where he has worked since 2001. He has spent his entire legal career pursuing civil rights and civil liberties cases and causes, first with the ACLU of New Jersey, then at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section (where he worked before moving to Baltimore). David has also served on the board of the Mount Royal Improvement Association (now Bolton Hill Community Association), including as its president, and served on the board of the now closed Baltimore Food Coop. Since joining Beth Am David has participated in several synagogue projects, including assisting with Hannukat HaBayit II, soliciting contributions for the Open Doors Campaign, and serving on the Neighborhood Engagement and Social Justice Task Force as part of Beth Am's strategic planning initiative. He is grateful to the Beth Am community for warmly welcoming him and his family, and appreciates the shul's history of engagement with and commitment to the larger Baltimore community, and the emphasis on learning. He is looking forward to finding new ways to contribute to Beth Am.
TJ Inter, Trustee
: TJ Intner (only goes by Tamara Joy to pay taxes) joined Beth Am in 2019. She is from Baltimore, as is her husband, William, and they have two sons, Jonah (13) and Asher (11). The Intners live in Baltimore County. TJ is a retired emergency medicine physician and spends her time doing significant volunteer work in the community. She has been involved with several projects at Beth Am, as a member of the cantor/educator search committee as well as the education task force under the strategic planning committee . TJ attended day school and was a loyal member of a different local synagogue, where she was a board member and served on various committees and projects for many years.She and her husband became interested in Beth Am because Asher joined the Discovery Lab. The Intners immediately felt welcomed into the Beth Am community and recognized its members as progressive, intelligent and diverse. TJ is excited to continue to deepen her involvement with Beth Am, further the friendships she has made there, and be a small part of steering Beth Am to a continued bright and vibrant future.
Orly Klein, Trustee
: Orly Klein is a pediatric oncologist, specializing in bone marrow transplant. She did her medical school and pediatrics residency training at Mount Sinai in New York, and then moved to Baltimore for fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology at the joint program at Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health. She has been on the faculty at Hopkins for four years, in the Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Orly became a member of Beth Am in 2017. A product of the Conservative Movement, Orly attended Solomon Schechter for elementary and middle school (in Atlanta), Camp Ramah both as a camper and on seminar and as a counselor, for 13 total years, and List College in the dual-degree program with Barnard College. She read Torah for the first time when she was in first grade, she loves leading davening and leyning, and she knows how to leyn every troupe. She has been volunteering as a doctor at Ramah Darom for the past five years, and three years ago she joined the Board of Directors of Ramah Darom, where she is also chair of the medical committee. She recently participated Beth Am’s cantor/educator search committee, where she learned a lot about Beth Am’s values and the inner workings of the shul, and she is looking forward to becoming more involved in the future!