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Letter from your President

January 29, 2016

To my Temple Beth Am family,

This past December, I informed you that our Board of Trustees had approved a motion to allow me to sign a letter of intent to formally discuss a potential merger with Temple B’Nai Torah of Wantagh.  The goal of the merger would have been to revitalize the future of a combined congregation, and by extension, Reform Judaism in this part of Nassau.  

As is required by our own Constitution, I presented this motion to the congregation for consideration at the Congregational Meeting of January 27.  I think nobody was surprised that the discussion regarding the potential merger, as well as other possible futures for Temple Beth Am, was lively, energetic, and emotional at that meeting, which was the best-attended Congregational Meeting in many, many years.

Ultimately, the motion to sign the letter of intent was rejected by those congregants present at the meeting.  As your president, I am bound to not only lead, but to carry out your directions, so this means we will not be pursuing a merger with Temple B’Nai Torah at this time.

Instead, we will be forming a “Revitalization Committee”, whose charter will be to rejuvenate our membership, our activities, our fundraising, and therefore to ensure a more stable future for Temple Beth Am, without having to resort to a merger.  This committee was conceived by those assembled at the Congregational Meeting, and by the end of the meeting, I was proud to see that two dozen congregants had volunteered.  

This was an encouraging turn of events — instead of only complaining about the problems we face, we will now be able to address those issues.  I’d like to point out that members signed up from all stages of life — those with children in our Hebrew School, retirees, and everyone in between.  This will result in a committee that takes multiple points of view into consideration — new ideas mixing with old ones, fresh perspectives with accumulated wisdom.

I hope this committee will come up with exciting fundraising programs, new ways to attract members, and encouragement for existing members to stay as members, regardless of how long they have been here.  Of course, to execute those ideas, we will need everyone’s participation in these events.  Whether you can give your time, expertise, monetary donation, or your ideas, with everyone’s help, we can revive the Temple after years of declining membership numbers, budgetary deficits and recent lack of participation in events.  

Many people told me that the news of the potential merger was a “wake-up” call to them that the Temple needed them, and I hope the formation and resulting programs of the new Revitalization Committee will indeed signify the end of our decline and the start of our resurgence.

If you would like to volunteer, or learn more, please contact me via email at president@templebethammerrick.org, or through the temple office.


David Plass

President, Temple Beth Am of Merrick and Bellmore

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