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Committees

Committees make our congregation work

B’nai Sholom’s programs and activities are planned and facilitated by many committees of congregants.  Most of our committees are eager to welcome new members.  We encourage all our congregants to participate in the efforts and activities of our committees. If you would like to, feel free to contact the committee chair about joining, sitting in on a meeting, or about participating in its activities (consult the directory for the phone number or email address or call the office). Most committees also have email distribution lists that allow committee members to share information outside of committee meetings. Through the email lists, you can be an active participant in a committee even if you cannot attend meetings. What follows is a brief description of all of our current committees and their contact information.

   

board@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us

Ann Lowenfels, President

Our Board meets the first Tuesday of the month, unless deferred by a holiday. Management and administration of the affairs, revenues, and property of the Congregation are vested in the Board, whose meetings are open to all the members of the Congregation. See our by-laws for more detail.

Barney Horowitz, Chair

At B’nai Sholom, mindful that “the advancement of learning is the highest commandment” (Maimonides), we are a congregation of lifelong learners, where Adult Education allows us to explore Judaism and the whole world through a Jewish perspective. The Adult Education Committee meets occasionally throughout the year planning a range of programming from classes to movies to lectures and concerts. Volunteers are always welcome. See elsewhere on this website or check our bulletin for current listings.

Elizabeth Alowitz (term expiring June 2022)
Julie Friedman (term expiring June 2021)
Laura Kaplan (term expiring June 2021)

The B’Yachad Religious School Board sets policy for and supports the students in our Religious School program, B’Yachad (Grades K-8).

B’Yachad is a partnership among B’nai Sholom, Temple Israel and Ohav Sholom. It is the Board’s goal to ensure an education program that provides students with knowledge and understanding of Jewish history, tradition, values, and practices, along with Hebrew language skills, in order to promote Jewish identity, participation in the Jewish community, and a life-long love of learning.

Amy Koren-Roth, Chair

“On three things does the world stand: On Torah, on worship, and on deeds of loving-kindness.” — Pirkei Avot 1:2.

B’nai Sholom’s Caring Community exists to help our congregants in times of crisis. Because unusual stresses, illness, or bereavement can strike at any time, it is important to know that we have people on whom we can depend. The Caring Community has available, before the need arises, people willing and able to help. As new needs develop, the Caring Community will make every effort to meet them. Congregants may need help and support when someone is sick or home-bound, a new baby arrives, someone is bereaved, there is an accident, tragedy, or other trauma. Meals can be made available when needed. To request assistance, congregants simply call the synagogue office, the rabbi, or a member of the Caring Community Steering Committee. Allowing the Caring Community to give assistance provides its volunteers the opportunity to perform a mitzvah.

B’nai Sholom’s cemetery is a picturesque and peaceful dedicated section of the Elmwood Hill Cemetery in Troy, New York. The Cemetery Committee coordinates cemetery activity, defines procedures and serves as a point of contact between synagogue members, area funeral directors, monument companies and cemetery staff. For information and to see pictures of the cemetery or to purchase a cemetery privilege, please contact the office.

Benjamin Marvin, Chair

The Communications Committee covers the bases to make sure our congregants and the wider Jewish community stay aware and informed about events and activities taking place at B’nai Sholom. We maintain the congregation’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, edit the B’nai Sholom Bulletin, write press releases, photograph events, create flyers and posters, and design advertisements for local newspapers. The Committee meets bimonthly and new members are always welcome.  Like to write, take photos or have a creative eye?  Want to help us communicate?  Please let Ben Marvin know of your interest.

Roy Fruiterman, Chair

The Disabilities Committee is an initiative inspired by the Jewish Federation of the Capital District. It is B’nai Sholom’s goal to make the synagogue, both the congregants and physical building, more accessible to those members of the Jewish community with special needs. The committee attempts to identify the barriers that exist for those congregants and potential congregants with developmental, physical, and emotional disabilities. We are trying to identify and enable actions that can be taken to offer these people a more friendly and inclusive environment in which to pray and socialize. 

If you are interested in being a part of our committee, contact Roy Fruiterman.

Shari Whiting, Finance VP & Chair

The Finance Committee monitors congregational income and expenses throughout the year and prepares the annual budget for consideration by the Board.

Shari Whiting, Chair

We raise funds for the synagogue by developing and implementing creative and interesting activities. Annual and biennial events include: baking hamentashen and offering Mishloach Manot bags with sweet treats at Purim, a Goods and Services Auction, Chilipalooza, Fair Trade Sale, grocery store gift cards, CLYNK – a bottle deposit program, and Got Sneakers, a sneaker re-use and recycling program. We welcome new members and their ideas.  Meetings are generally the first Thursday of the month.

Bettina Stoller, Chair

The boxes of records dating back to the formation of the congregation have been organized over the past couple of years. Our continuing goal is to make our historical records easily accessible and secure from damage, loss, and neglect and to be sure current and future materials are properly archived. If you’d like to help with this effort, contact Bettina!

Katelyn DiPaola, Chair

The Hospitality Committee schedules weekly Oneg hosts for our Shabbat services, assists the office manager with maintaining basic kitchen supplies and cleanliness and assists other committees with coordinating special events’ food as needed.

Want to host an Oneg Shabbat? Contact Katelyn DiPaola. Each Oneg Shabbat is provided and hosted by a B’nai Sholom member or family. Guidelines are provided that tell hosts everything needed, from beginning to end. The Hospitality Committee calls congregants to ask about, but if you prefer to pick your own date early, please contact Katelyn.

Phil Teumim, Chair

The House Committee works to maintain and improve the synagogue’s physical facilities, inside and outside. The committee does not conduct formal meetings, but rather schedules work sessions as needed, involving individual or group tasks, and occasionally is called upon to handle emergency repairs. Tasks may involve electrical, plumbing, carpentry, sheet-rock, painting or other activities as determined by the needs of individual maintenance, repair and upgrade projects.

Martie Teumim, Chair

The goal of the Landscape Committee is to make certain the grounds of B’nai Sholom look neat and attractive. We meet at the temple several times throughout the year to work on weeding, edging, mulching, pruning and adding seasonal plantings. We hope to gradually convert the landscape to native and beneficial plantings.

We invite new members to join us at the work parties. If you would like to join the team, please contact Martie Teumim.

Mimi Bruce, Chair

The BSRC Legacy Campaign Committee is committed to educating congregants on the value of and the means for developing an endowment for B’nai Sholom.  By encouraging fellow members to include B’nai Sholom in their estate planning, the Legacy Committee hopes to guarantee the future of our synagogue in the Jewish community of the Capital District. If you are interested in working with the committee, or in providing for B’nai Sholom through your will or some other financial instrument, please contact Mimi Bruce.

The Legacy Society is that honored group of individuals who have committed to providing a gift for B’nai Sholom now or in their estate.

B’nai Sholom’s library is available to congregants whenever the synagogue is open and includes a vibrant collection of Judaic resources to support interests of all ages.

The Library Committee sets policy for, oversees and manages the Library. Most, but not all, materials circulate. Please be sure to sign out all that you borrow and return them promptly.

For information, please get in touch with any member – Josh Brody, Rondi Brower, Ian Duckor, Gail Golderman or Lois Gordon.

Libby Liebschutz, Chair

B’nai Sholom welcomes newcomers to our congregation, including people in mixed marriages and of all races, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities. The Membership Committee seeks out and forges connections with unaffiliated Jews in the Capital Region who are looking for an active Reform temple that provides opportunities for spiritual growth, continuous learning, social action and a warm, welcoming community. We work to introduce and orient new members to our vibrant community, and we create programs to deepen and broaden the engagement of both current and prospective members in Jewish life and service, such as Music Bridge, which brings our teen musicians to entertain nursing home residents, and Tot Shabbat, a Friday night worship service for families with young children. We’re always looking for new ideas and new committee members!

Bettina Stoller, Chair

The Member Events Committee fosters B’nai Sholom congregants getting to know and enjoy each other, by sponsoring a series of celebrations to increase their sense of connection.  Every year, we facilitate Rosh Hashanah luncheons at
congregants’ homes. Events that are scheduled every other year include the Progressive Dinner, the Wine and Cheese Tasting, the Longevity Dinner/Shabbat, and the Volunteer Dinner/Shabbat.

Julie Novkov, Chair

The Nominating Committee presents candidates for officer and trustee positions to the congregation and Board for consideration and election. The Nominating Committee’s composition and mandate is described in our bylaws.

Melissa Putterman-Hoffmann, Chair

The Ritual Committee works directly with the Rabbi to maintain and enhance the spiritual life of the Congregation. In fulfillment of this goal, the Committee’s efforts include:

  • Understanding the evolving spiritual needs of the Congregation and creating service content and other events accordingly;
  • Proposing policy involving life-cycle events;
  • Preparing for festival events such as Tu BiShevat and Purim;
  • Composing and/or formatting services for special occasions;
  • Recruiting and preparing lay readers for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur;
  • Training and scheduling lay leaders to fill in when the Rabbi is away.

Steve Klein and Howard Stoller, Co-Chairs

The Safety and Security Committee ensures the safety and security of B’nai Sholom facilities, congregants, staff, tenants and visitors. We develop guidelines, policies and procedures to keep everyone safe and secure while at B’nai Sholom. We work with local law enforcement to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities in building security. We also work to obtain funding via grants for safety and security enhancements. If you have any safety or security concerns, please contact Steve or Howard. We’re always looking for more volunteers to join our committee.

Martha Rozett, Chair

The Scholarship Committee is responsible for allocating student scholarships to Jewish overnight camps and summer Israel trips. 
The committee does not meet regularly, but only as needed to set policy for the scholarships.  The committee solicits applications in early January and meets shortly thereafter to distribute available scholarship funds.

Becky Marvin, Co-Chair
Valerie Tabak, Co-Chair

B’nai Sholom is a Brit Olam Congregation. As such, the Social Action/Social Justice Committee engages and informs the congregation and community about social justice issues and provides opportunities to participate in activities to make our immediate communities and our world a better place. We choose projects that reflect the Reform Jewish perspective and represent our congregation in the community. In these extraordinary times, we continue to plan meaningful programs to actively engage all of us, while nourishing minds and souls.

For 2022

Community Mitzvah Day (if scheduled this year) will provide us with the opportunity to engage with our fellow Jews from around the region.

We will again march in the Albany Pride Parade (if held this year).

The Committee will continue to foster the work the congregation has begun to achieve racial justice and equality for all.

Ongoing Projects

Legislative Advocacy

  • Through our affiliation with both the national and state Religious Action Center of the Reform movement (RAC and RAC-NY), we support legislation that fulfills the idea of tikkun olam, healing the world.

Literacy

  • Books for Babies — We partner with The Baby Institute in Albany and The RED Bookshelf to provide new books and accompanying literature to encourage a life-long love of reading to families where reading is not a strong tradition.
  • Whitney Young Tutor Program — We provide funds in memory of Vera Propp to purchase books for these programs in the Albany and Schenectady public schools.
  • Schuyler Inn — We maintain the children’s library space at this family shelter.

Combating Homelessness and Hunger

  • Family Promise of the Capital Region – B’nai Sholom is a support congregation for this interfaith, grassroots program providing shelter and services to homeless children and their families.
  • Little Free Food Pantries – We conduct a yearly food drive with Delmar Presbyterian Church, our Family Promise partner congregation, to stock these pantries.
  • Sister Maureen Joyce Soup Kitchen – We provide volunteers to work at this Albany soup kitchen.
  • We hold twice-yearly clothing drives.

Climate Change

  • B’nai Sholom is a member congregation of Capital Region Interfaith Creation Care Coalition (CRICCC) whose grassroots work is to mitigate and reverse global warming by focusing on renewable energy, Toward Zero Waste efforts, communication and education, and advocacy.
  • B’nai Sholom is working with RAC-NY on a multi-year campaign advocating for legislation to combat the effects of climate change.

Universal Health Care

  • The congregation is the founder of the Capital District Alliance for Universal Healthcare (CDAUH) and continues to support its efforts to achieve “Medicare for All.”

We welcome creative ideas and new members!  Join us for good work, lively conversation and camaraderie every fourth Monday at 7:00 pm.

Our sages said a little light expels a lot of darkness.

Looking for a chair

The Technology Committee is a group of BSRC congregants that work on technology systems and tools for use by the BSRC community to more effectively and efficiently use our resources.  Included in the Technology Committee’s efforts are management of our internal computing resources including both the hardware and software environments, support of our webpages and email lists, and general consulting for BSRC staff on technical issues.

Contact Us

420 Whitehall Road, Albany, NY 12208
518-482-5283|Email Us

Office Hours

Tuesdays-Fridays, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Closed Mondays

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