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Letter from the President

By Cindy Goldstein


Here in my living room, as I alternate between lying on my couch watching Netflix or Amazon Prime Video and sitting at my computer attending Zoom meetings and Mishkon services, I am so ready to be done with this pandemic. 

I want to go to Mishkon, go shopping, be with people, especially all of you, go out to eat, not wear a mask, not think about what I’m touching, not wait in line to get into grocery stores, and not be conscious of my (apparently advanced) age.  I want my normal life.

Back to reality:  In the past two months, we all have worked hard to keep Mishkon going.  Our preschool and religious school directors and teachers, staying at home, have devised clever ways to teach and entertain our children online. 

 Rabbi Botnick has conducted services every Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday night, as well as conducting services and a second-night seder for Pesach.  These were all carried on Zoom and livestreamed, in several clever ways the rabbi learned.  As a result, Mishkon’s services have each been “attended” not only by our local community but also by many hundreds of appreciative people all over the country and in other countries.  The various systems keep track of those numbers, and many of those people have written to thank him.

Rabbi Botnick, Rabbi Dan Shevitz, Jeffrey Prince, Rachel Kann, Stephanie Avedon, and Shai Avital have continued our regular Adult Education classes online, carefully adapted for that experience.  And special Adult Education guests have presented occasional programs, also online.

We don’t know what the High Holy Days will look like at Mishkon, but we are already planning for a variety of possibilities, all designed to ensure the best spiritual experience for all of us, whether that’s online, in person, or a mixture of the two. We'll soon be sending out a survey to all of you about your preferences for the High Holy Days.

In the meantime, our staff has been working every day.  Our custodian, Ruben Carrillo, goes to our buildings daily, using this opportunity to do repairs and special projects, as well as making sure that everything will be thoroughly clean and ready when we reopen.  Office Assistant Chad, Bookkeeper Vivienne, and Executive Director Kelley are working from home.  Chad is focusing on getting ready for the High Holy Days and publishing the Galim, while Vivienne keeps our books up to date.  Kelley is doing everything, as she always does, anticipating all our needs and making everything work smoothly.

 So far, unlike many synagogues and preschools, we have kept all our employees and continue to pay them their full salaries.  We were fortunate to receive a Small Business Administration forgivable loan to pay salaries for eight weeks.  As a result of the loan and generous donations from every member of our Board of Directors, Mishkon will end the fiscal year on June 30 financially secure, with no deficit.  

However, our usual income has decreased, and we are concerned that it will also in the new fiscal year.  You can help by participating in as many Mishkon online activities and programs as you can, volunteering whenever you can, maintaining your solid connection to Mishkon, and donating financially as generously as you can.  We will be introducing a new membership fee structure for this year, which will need your support, and we will be making plans to ensure that the High Holy Days income we depend on comes in, as well.   We want Mishkon to be flourishing when we are allowed to return to it, and that can only happen if we all pitch in to help now.

Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780