The “Honeymoon” of my Presidency

A message from Richard Siegel
President, Temple Beth Am
[email protected]

One of the many nice things about being President of Temple Beth Am is that you are installed in office in late May, just as the weather in Miami is taking a turn for the worse and the “dog days” of summer are almost upon us. Rambam Day School and Religious School students are finishing the school year and many congregants are looking forward to spending much of the next few months traveling and/or living in places where the temperature and humidity don’t both begin with a “9” most days. What a perfect time to take the helm – when no one is here; or at least that’s what I thought!

I have come to learn that TBAM has no “off season,” and while the Rambam Day School and Religious School may not be in session, B’nai Mitzvah are not on the calendar, and you’re likely to find TBAM congregants almost anywhere you vacation, our community is vibrant, active and engaged year-round. These are a few of the noteworthy highlights from the “honeymoon” of my presidency:

Annual Meeting: How humbling it was for me to attend TBAM’s Annual Meeting and be introduced as your temple’s next president. To see so many former presidents in attendance on whose shoulders I stand in leading our beloved congregation was awesome and inspiring. Equally as motivating was to see the many committed, energized and enthusiastic lay leaders that comprise the various boards and committees that govern our treasured institution. And last, but certainly not least, we all rejoiced in witnessing the celebration of and tribute to our outgoing president David Young, who did so much for our community during his term.

Rambam Day School Graduation: Jackie and I were honored and delighted to attend the Rambam Day School fifth grade graduation, the first one we attended since our daughter Abby graduated fifth grade (and who, coincidentally, graduated from college the following week!). Our day school continues to educate confident and strong future leaders of our community and the “naches meter” in the room was off the charts! What was particularly gratifying for us was witnessing how many of the amazing and impactful traditions from the days when our girls attended the Day School remain intact today. Every time my girls go to Israel, they think back on their first “trip to Israel,” which took place in the school’s auditorium. What a great event.

Rabbi Greengrass’ Trip to Israel: As someone who only has three Facebook friends (two children and a spouse), I don’t spend much time on my “feed,” but I have to admit that I did look forward to Rabbi Greengrass’ daily Facebook post during her trip to Israel with TBAM families and teens. It was powerful to watch our youth embracing Israel’s history and heritage, exploring its natural wonders, reflecting on the Holocaust, and strengthening their Jewish identity. Yasher koach Rabbi Greengrass!

Shabbat in the Chapel: I believe one of the highlights of the TBAM summer is when the Kabbalat Shabbat services move to the Chapel. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way, as evidenced by the fact that additional chairs were required one Friday evening earlier this month! The vibe and sense of community at these more intimate services is great and I encourage everyone to attend if they can (as a reminder, you do not have to be recognizing a Yahrzeit to attend Friday night services.) I hope everyone is having a great summer, both near and far. There’s lots going on at TBAM – I encourage you to flip through the pages that follow this one, find something on campus that sounds interesting to you, and give it a try. And, if nothing on the calendar resonates with you, please let me know what would (my email address is above.) We have a dedicated and exceptional programming team that are always seeking ideas for events that would get congregants on campus. Please help us help you (okay, I stole that from Jerry Maguire…)



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