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Annual Reports


Annual Meeting Agenda

April 16, 2017 at 12:30


 Presidential Address – Ray Weiner


Treasurer’s Report– Ruth Grant


Discussion about Committee Reports, including Rabbi’s report and by-law changes – Ray Weiner


Volunteer of the Year Award - Rabbi Block and Ruth Grant


Treasurer’s Report & 2017-2018 Budget – Ruth Grant


Discussion about Committee Reports – Ray Weiner



Slate of Officers

Board Slate 2017


June Weiss – President

Cindy Rushefsky – Vice President

Secretary – Kim Hamburg

Treasurer – Ruth Grant

Ray Weiner (Past President)

Sue Conine

Judith Peavey

Mara Cohen Ioannides

Chris Kelts


Foundation – Lance Luria

Religious School– Mandy Van Ostran

Hebrew School– Rabbi Barbara Block

Holiday Committee - Mara Cohen Ioannides

House Committee – Keven Sweckard

Cemetery Warden – Ray Van Ostran

Membership – Becky Supak

Interfaith Committee – Sue Conine

Investment Committee --

Choir/Concert – Ken Burstin

Youth Group –Meredith Burstin

Sisterhood – Judith Peavey

Rabbi’s Report – Barbara Block

Fund Raising Report - Elizabeth Weiner

Volunteer of the Year Award – Irwin Cohen/Barbara Block

Ambassadors for Children--Mark and Cindy Rushefsky

Ritual Committee--Linda Skolnick




Annual Report

Rabbi Barbara Block

March 2017


My third year as Temple Israel’s rabbi has been a rich and rewarding time.  I continue to deepen my connections with members, spending time together at services, in meetings, at events, and at homes.  These relationships are key to all that I do as rabbi. 

     The greatest highlight of our worship life this year has been the introduction of Mishkan HaNefesh, our new machzor (High Holy Day prayerbook).  Thanks to the Ritual Committee’s fundraising efforts and many generous donors, and many hours spent by Ken Burstin on helping to plan the transition, we were able to use this beautiful new prayerbook for the first time.  So many have told me how much they love the new machzor.  Some are pleased to have more of the traditional liturgy included; others love the contemporary readings; and many appreciate having transliterations of all prayers.  The study materials included in the machzor were excellent aids to study sessions I taught to introduce the new machzor and will provide food for thought and study sessions for many years to come.

     Having been at Temple Israel for nearly three years, I begin to feel a sense of having a history with people – and nowhere is this more true than with our youth.  It is so gratifying when I recognize college students when they return home, having known them from our youth group.  Students whom I have taught have returned to serve as classroom assistants on Sunday morning.  I have seen kids who used to be much shorter than I shoot up; I look up at them and remember when they were little.  More importantly, I have seen the inner growth as our students mature and become mensches.  I read about rabbis’ struggles in large congregations where students are disrespectful and worse, and think about how fortunate we are to have the wonderful youth and youth programs at Temple Israel.

     Adult Education programs this year have included the Lunch and Learn program at the Library Center, which continues to draw a faithful following, and the Sunday morning Torah study which has attracted many new participants.  I am pleased that Ariana Clavenna has stepped into a teaching role this year and is having great success with the continuing adult Hebrew class.

     One of our community’s great strengths is coming together for life cycle events for members.  Since the last annual meeting we have celebrated one bat mitzvah and will celebrate one more just days before the annual meeting.  I am currently enjoying tutoring four wonderful students for this exciting moment in their lives and the lives of their families and our community.  We have rejoiced with four wonderful converts as they celebrated joining the Jewish people.  We mourned with the families of members Marc Cooper, Matt Merrifield, George Rubenstein, and Jean Zalinsky at their funerals and shiva services.

     Life cycle events are occasions for community; pastoral care for members is provided privately and confidentially.  I have made many hospital and home visits and kept in touch by phone and private message with those desiring rabbinical pastoral care.  I have appreciated the Board members and others who have kept me informed when someone is in need of my attention.

     Sustaining a financially stable congregation is the purview of the Board and the Foundation.  I have worked to support the Board and the Foundation in their efforts, including offering a highly successful Sanctuary Tour during Artfest.  I am active in outreach efforts, and am pleased that we have added six new households to our membership this year.

     In addition to my activities within the congregation, I work to strengthen the Jewish presence and Jewish voice in the larger community.  I have served as a guest lecturer in numerous venues, including schools, colleges and universities, and churches.  I have become a member of the Professional Advisory Group that oversees the Clinical Pastoral Education (chaplaincy training) program at Mercy Hospital.  As part of my service to that group, I met with chaplaincy students to help them learn how best to serve Jewish patients.  In May I led my second Holocaust Remembrance service.  In February I spoke on a panel at Drury College on the effects of the recent rise in hate crimes against minorities.  I attend Faith Voices meetings at the Council of Churches as my schedule permits.

     It has been a rich and rewarding year, indeed.  I am immensely grateful to President Ray Weiner, to the Board, and to the many lay leaders of Temple Israel for your partnership in nurturing this holy community.






Minutes from 2016 Annual Meeting


Temple Israel

Minutes of Annual Congregational Meeting






Temple Israel By-Laws



Proposed Changes in By-Laws


Dear Congregants,


I look forward to seeing all of your at our annual meeting at 12:30 on April 16th.  With a goal of respecting everyone’s time at the meeting, I am sending information below on some proposed by-laws changes.  If you have any questions, comments or concerns about any of them please reach out to me before the meeting so I can address the matter.  Hopefully, we can avoid spending a lot of time doing back and forth discussion at the meeting.

There are really 2 groups of changes.  The first deals with formalizing a policy related to taking public positions and the second is related to formalizing the process of electing new or replacement board members.  The changes associated with the new board members involve several re-wording of current policy paragraphs and insertions of committee definitions.  I think that stuff is very vanilla so I am not including that here, instead focusing on the Public Policy proposals.

First some background on the public policy proposals.  Yes, there are two conflicting proposals, so it will be chose one of the following, not both.  In a broad brush stroke summation, the first proposal recognizes that most public policy issues can be divisive and effectively prohibits the congregation as a whole taking a position (i.e. the Temple speaking for all congregants).  The second allows for the taking of those positions by the congregation and creates the criterion and framework for that process to happen.   As you will see, neither proposal limits what individuals can do on their own or in any way limits the Rabbis freedom of the pulpit.

Proposal #1 – Prohibiting the taking of positions:

No employee, officer, board member, or congregation member shall adopt a public policy position or engage in public advocacy on behalf of the congregation; nor shall any employee, officer, board member, or congregation member use the letterhead of the Temple Israel to adopt a public position or engage in public advocacy. This provision is not intended to, and it does not, preclude an employee, committee, or organization from taking a position in his, her, or its individual or organizational capacity (i.e., as distinct from purporting to act on behalf of the congregation). Nor does this section limit the freedom of the pulpit for the rabbi, limit the rabbi’s ability to take public positions when not representing Temple Israel, or apply to the writings or comments of the rabbi from the bimah, in religious school or adult education classes, or in any synagogue print or electronic publication.

Proposal #2 – Allowing the taking of positions – formalizing the procedure for doing so:

The Board of Directors will follow the procedure described below to determine whether to adopt and publicize a resolution or take a public position.

1.     Any officer, board member, or congregational member can bring to the President a resolution requesting Temple Israel take a public position on an issue. The resolution will be considered by the Board (a) upon a motion duly made by any member of the Board; (b) upon the recommendation of one of the congregation’s clergy; or (c) upon the receipt of a petition or request signed by ten percent (10%) or more of the members of the congregation. The President will inform the Congregation that the Board will be considering the proposal at a subsequent board meeting.

2.     The Congregation and Board will have at least two weeks to review the proposal before discussing it. The Board may consider a proposed resolution at any regular or special meeting of the Board. Congregation members will be encouraged to share their views with Board members. The Board shall adopt a resolution or position when at least three quarters (3/4) of the Board members present vote to approve the proposal.

3.     No employee, officer, board member, or congregation member shall adopt a resolution, support a public position, or engage in public advocacy on behalf of the Congregation without the express approval of the Board; nor shall any employee, officer, board member, or congregation member use the letterhead of the Temple Israel to adopt a resolution or take a position without the express approval of the Board. This provision is not intended to, and it does not, preclude an employee, committee, or organization from taking a position in his, her, or its individual, organizational, or professional capacity (i.e., as distinct from purporting to act on behalf of the congregation). Nor does this section limit the freedom of the pulpit for the rabbi, limit the rabbi’s ability to take public positions when not representing Temple Israel, or apply to the writings or comments of the rabbi from the bimah, in religious school or adult education classes, or in any synagogue print or electronic publication.

4.     Once the board has approved a public policy position on an issue, the officers, board, or employees may take the same position in the future without getting specific board approval unless that position has been revoked.

Thank you,

Ray Weiner, President Temple Israel






House Committee Report


Kevin Sweckard


Religious School Report

School year 2016 - 2017



         Hebrew School:  4 teachers

         Sunday School: 3 teachers one librarian, one snack aid from YG, 2 other classroom aides from YG



         Hebrew School:  6 students

         Sunday School:  12 students



Sunday School:  24 Sundays, plus one Back to School Bash and one End of Year party and one Havdalah/movie night on Saturday. (27 total days).

Hebrew School: 60 class days scheduled plus 4 Hebrew School Shabbat services.


Tuition remained the same

         $250 for Sunday School

         $250 for Hebrew School

         $225 for additional child in a family per program


There are 7 families with preschool age children receiving books and Jewish toys from the Religious School.

The teachers will meet in May, 2017 to work on the programming and schedule for the next school year. At that time the complete budget will be calculated and presented to teachers and the board.


Holiday Committee


Mission: to provide meals for all the Jewish holidays to the Temple Israel community


·      to offer an assortment of different culturally Jewish foods

·      to encourage the congregation to gather

·      to become self-sufficient

We began on Sukkot of 2016 and planned: Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, a Shabbat dinner, Tu B’shvat seder, Purim lunch, Passover seder, Yom Ha’atzmaut, Shavuot, a summer havadallah picnic, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. The Shabbat dinner and Havadallah picnic we decided were important because there were more than one month gaps between holidays and we want to make sure there is an opportunity for the community to gather and spend time at least once a month.

Hanukkah dinner and the Shabbat dinner were especially well attended. The Tu B’shvat seder was met with enthusiasm and participants are anxious for it to be repeated. Unfortunately, because of a lack of interest, Purim lunch was cancelled – but we attribute that to Purim being during the public school and universities’ spring break. It will continue to be scheduled.

In an effort to remain cost effective, we are now suggesting RSVP for any meal and people are good at doing so. This has greatly helped us with not over purchasing food based exclusively on estimates. We have also added to the Passover reservation form an option to purchase a meal for someone who cannot afford a seder meal. This should keep us from dipping into the rabbi’s discretionary fund. This has request has been well received and should keep us in the green. We also continue to pass the tzadakah box for financial support. On occasion, we will make specific requests (like we did for assistance in hiring the cleaning crew) in Temple Talk.

For Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Shabbat dinner, and Tu B’shvat, we spent: $3243.02. There were $1300 in donations for the High Holy Days and $100 for Chanukah. For these same events, there were $2951.51 in donations in the tzadakah box. Thus, we have made $103.74 in profit, which we will turn around for next year’s celebrations. We hope that by 2019, we will be self-sufficient.

We also offer educational opportunities to the community. By partnering with the hotel management programs in the area, we get free assistance for Passover and their students learn how to cater a Jewish event.

We are most grateful for the support of the congregation through their assistance as requested by Merlin in the kitchen (especially Mike Carlie for his post cooking cleanin), for setting up the social hall (Cindy Platz), washing the table cloths (Cindy Platz and Cindy Rushefsky), new table clothes (Ruth Grant), and the Sisterhood for spending an afternoon reorganizing the kitchen and pantry. Without this kind of help, we could not do what we do.



Membership Committee 



Investment Committee



Choir and Concert




Youth Group Report




Interfaith Alliance of the Ozarks Committee Report


Interfaith Alliance of the Ozarks Committee Report



The Interfaith Alliance of the Ozarks is made up of the following faith groups:

Temple Israel

The Islamic Center

Brentwood Christian Church

South Street Christian Church

National Avenue Christian Church

The Baha'i Faith

Christ Episcopal Church

First Universal Unitarian Church

Holy Trinity Catholic Church


Linked MSU

The Council of Churches


The Alliance meets the second Monday of each month at noon at South Street Christian Church. Anyone interested in promoting diversity and understanding of various faiths is welcome to attend.


Each meeting begins with an opening meditation which has a universal statement. Volunteers are called upon to do so, followed by the business meeting. The agenda is set by the steering committee which meets one week prior to the general meeting.




Fund-Raising Committee Report



Foundation Annual Report



Sisterhood Report

Sisterhood membershipfor the year is 31. Judith Peavey remains as president of Sisterhood and Susan Conine as Secretary and Treasurer with unanimous support from the members. Sisterhood meetings have been held sporadically throughout the year.


Food and baking events: Once again Sisterhood hosted the Oneg following the eve of Rosh Hashonah service, with enough desserts left over for the Rosh Hashanah luncheon the following day and for the Yom Kippur break-the-fast. Sisterhood held two baking classes to teach members how to make specific Jewish pastries to be sold at Art Fest’s bake sale. We baked enough Jewish pastries during the baking classes and at individual homes for the bake sale at Arts Fest this year, bringing in proceeds exceeding $3000. All proceeds raised at the bake sale were donated to Temple Israel’s operating fund. We also sponsored the Oneg following the Tu’Bishvat service.


Fundraising:We collected dues and helped out a few individuals by covering their yearly dues. We held a raffle to sell an afghan handmade by Regina Loften and brought in over $800.


Mitzvah/Tekun Olam projects – We donated funds to Nancy Cooper for her to purchase picture books to bring to deliver to early childhood educators in villages in Kenya in January.  We also donated funds to HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), specifically to go to Syrian refugees. This year we again supported the organizationAmbassadors for Children, by purchasing winter clothing and other needed items for the children in the program, through theTwo members volunteered at Crosslines food and toy drive before Christmas.  


Sisterhood continues to reach out to members, providing bikkur holim – comfort, food and support for members who are ill, who lost a loved one, or who are otherwise in distress.


Donations to Temple Israel: Sisterhood continues to give each B’Nai Mitzvot the book On The Dooorposts of Your House, Prayers and Ceremonies For the Jewish Home. The Sisterhood also continues to support the Sunday school. At the end of the school year Sisterhood will once again write a check to the classes that complete assignments as a reward. Sisterhood purchased new tablecloths for the synagogue.


Activities: Sisterhood conducted the Shabbat/Tu’Bisvat service Februry 10th. Book club remains active and meets about every 2 months for a book discussion, noshing and socializing. Some members periodically meet to play Mah Jong or to attend a movie or show.  We enjoyed 3 presentations this year: Nancy Cooper told us about her trip to Kenya; Francie Wolff presented about her trip to India; and Lynda Luria provided us with a medical specialist to educated 16 attendees on what we could do if there were a medical emergency at the synagogue and on how to use the AED that is stored in a glass case on the wall across from the sanctuary.


In February we started an Israeli dance group with Linda Skolnick teaching the Israeli dances. The Israeli dance lessons/dancing will take place every 3rd Sunday of the month at 7:00 pm.


On March 5th a group of Sisterhood members did a massive kitchen cleanup and reorganization.


Ritual Committee



Ambassadors for Children


As part of our social action mission, Temple Israel participates in the Ambassadors for Children (AFC) program. The Ambassadors for Children program is a project of the Springfield Council of Churches. The program works with the Missouri Division of Family Services (DFS). When a need arises, DFS contacts AFC, which then contacts one or more of its participating organizations. This year, we were asked to provide  for a family and, thanks to the efforts of Sisterhood and the purchasing by Kim Hamburg, we were able to give over $300 worth of clothing and other supplies.


There is a Temple Israel fund set up for this very worthwhile program. If you would like to donate to that fund, please send a check to the Temple and indicate it is for the Ambassador for Children's fund.


Mark and Cindy Rushefsky



Cemetery Report



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