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Annual report from Congregation Ner Tamid, 2006






Annual report from Congregation Ner Tamid, 2006

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jhp000620. Congregation Ner Tamid Records, approximately 1974-2018. MS-00812. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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#| Congregation Ner Tamid A SflECMt Mtacc -o?fl ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING May 30, 2006 1. Call to order - 7 pm 2. Invocation by Rabbi Akselrad 3. Comments on written reports of congregational officers and chairpersons 4. Sisterhood installation of Board 5. Presentation of Shomer Torah Award 6. Men's Club installation of Board 7. Men's Club presentation of Leo Wilner Leadership Award 8. Installation of NTTY Co-Presidents 9. Old business, if any 10. New business A. Vote on CNT Perpetual Trust B. Election of CNT Officers and Trustees 1. Presentation of slate of nominees 2. Vote 3. Installation of new Officers and Trustees 11. Presentation of CNT's 2006-2007 Board 12. Adjournment 13. Let's eat - Courtesy of the Sisterhood & Men's Club 2006 NOMINATED OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES EXECUTIVE BOARD President - Maria Letizia VP Administration - Harry Sax VP Ways & Means ~ Michael Unger VP Youth & Education - Beth Falk VP Ritual - Del Acosta VP Member Recruitment - Jay Poster VP Member Retention - Marsha Goldberg VP Social Action - Cindy Jensen Treasurer - Gregg Solomon Corporate Secretary - Yvonne Gordon ?a&>rc?k?Act ,csf i.CO?TRUSTEES Michele Fendell (2005-07) Barry Lewisohn (2005-07) Jordie Primack (2005-07) Debra Cohen (2005-08) Stacey Yahraus-Lewis (2005-08) Daryl Alterwitz (2005-08) Illisa Heimann (2006-09) Craig Kurtzman(2006-09) Mark Bromberg (2006-09) Annual Report Rabbi Sanford Akselrad The past year has been an historic year of transition for our Congregation. Our building on Emerson Ave. was sold, we broke ground on our new Valle Verde property for the first phase of our new Temple building, and we have managed well in temporary surroundings. I am very grateful for the support of my staff, the Congregation and its leadership during this time. Our attendance at services, our religious school and programs have all continued without a beat. Plans are now underway to make our transition into our new facility equally as smooth. With the new facility-especially as more of it is built out over the years- we will be able to over a wide variety of programs not possible to our membership in years past. We also have a transition of leadership this year as our President Scott Stolberg steps down after serving as president for three years. Scott was our original building chairman who when he became Temple President turned the reigns over to the very capable hands of Jerry Gordon. For six years Scott has worked tirelessly to insure the vitality of our Temple during a period of fundraising, staff transitions and the usual challenges that face a Temple President. He has done it with a whole heart and tremendous dedication. So, now we look to the future; a future that is upon us. God willing, at our next annual meeting we will be in our new facility! I ur ge everyone to spread the word to your friends that this is an excellent time to join our Temple if they have not already done so. With great joy we have watched the walls go up on our new site, and with an even greater sense of joy we will take part in the exciting programs and activities that will fill our new building with community, love and kedushah -holiness. May our Congregation continue to grow from strength to strength. Vice President of Administration Maria Letizia This year we closed the doors to our beloved old facility, and now, every moment is spent planning for the grand opening of our new Temple in early 2007. As your incoming President I have been fortunate to take an active part in almost all of the discussions and decision making for the Temple and feel strong and ready to be the administrative leader that will hold the reins on the new Temple expansion. As a board, we have listened to each and every need and made major strides in bringing wonderful new senior staff into the fold, thereby fulfilling many of the needs of our growing congregation. We are in the midst of creating a ground breaking facility slated to open the first quarter of 2007 and are working hard to keep this immense project on track and on time. I am extraordinarily grateful for the mentoring patience and care that Scott Stolberg has shown me. He has helped to instill in me what is important and necessary for our core well-being and has given me the much needed confidence to move forward into this new role. It is important to us that as we grow, you all feel a part of the experience. We look forward to a prosperous, well balanced life in our community and are eager to hear from each and every one of you as we journey into our new future. Thank you all for your kindness and your support. Working together as the caring community that we are, Congregation Ner Tamid will continue along its path of strength togetherness and worship. Again, I am honored to be a p art of the future of CNT and wish you all the very best that life has to offer. President's Annual Report Scott Stolberg The past year has been like no other in our congregation's history. So much hope, so much promise and a little sadness also. This year we said good-bye to the building that had been our home for over twenty years. However, our new home is now taking shape. With all of this comes joy and anxiety also. We have begun the process of creating a transition plan, a road map, a 5-year plan, whatever you want to call it. This will guide our leaders from the opening of our new campus through the end of the decade. Everyone will have a chance to participate in the process. The last transition plan was in 2000 and it took us six years but along the way the leadership had a road map of what the members wanted. So when you are asked to help please do so. We have continued to focus on our professional staff. Last year we saw our long time Director of Education, Jackie Fleekop, retire and we hired Ayelet Dagan-Blit to replace her. Ayelet has done wonderful things for our school as well as guide its transition to temporary quarters. Unfortunately for us she has chosen to move onto other things. We again did a nationwide search and found the perfect candidate. Craig Rosen, a Jewish educator who grew up in the Reform movement, will be an excellent addition to our senior staff. Craig will begin work on July 1st. We as a congregation have also adapted to our temporary quarters. Friday nights at King David have been wonderful. Why, because all the same people are there gathered to pray and welcome Shabbat. The office suite we occupy has allowed us all the things we had before -small group events, committee meetings and a place to call home. Our High HolyDay services this year will held at Green Valley Ranch. All in all things have worked out pretty well. We still have a lot of work to do to get into our new campus. There is still money to be raised. Just like we had a mortgage on our old home, we will have a mortgage on this one. Fundraising will always be part of temple until we can build out the whole campus and pay off the loan. We also will be operating a whole new facility, almost three times the size of our old one. The costs will go up but this transition year, with all of its extra costs, will help us get ready. So please be understanding if dues and fees have to rise the board is very careful about what they spend. Like our forefathers in the desert, we only ask for what we need. On June 11th, the Rabbi will be leading the first congregational trip in five years to Israel. This will be my first trip and I think it is a fitting way to celebrate the journey we are making together. So although there is still work to be done, we are in good shape with an eye toward the future and a plan to reach our goals. Executive Director's Annual Report Irv Duchowny The word for the year - Transition! Aside from having our usual, normal full year of activities (services, Adult Education, B'nai Mitzvot, Religious School, picnic, concerts, Shabbatones, High Holiday services, Purim Carnival, board meetings, births and passings of members and/or their family members, to name just a few activities), we're right in the middle of our transition year. We've sold our facility on Emerson Ave, and have opened escrow and have started construction of our new temple and campus at 55 North Valle Verde ("55 North" to some of us). As you drive by the site today, you see walls up, and major progress on our facility, as we prepare to move in sometime around January '07. As everyone knows, we're having Friday night Shabbat services at King David Chapel, and I want to thank Jay Poster and Alan Brewster for allowing us to do this for over a year. We've been having our Religious School at Gibson Elementary on Sundays. We said good-bye and thank you to Jackie Fleekop, have worked with Ayelet in reorganization of our Religious School, and we now wel?come Craig Rosen as our new Education Director, effective July 1st this year. Continuing, we're holding our Saturday morning Minyan at the offices, as well as Adult Education classes, B'nai Mitzvot training, JACS (Jewish Alcoholic and Chemical Dependent & Significant Others), and every board meeting. It's been an interesting experience to purge and pack, move, and then, before we know it, move again (at least we have already done the "purge" part, and thank you, Scott, for getting that message through to us). I also want to thank Scott for being our strong and decisive President for 3 years, and now it's Maria's turn. I know that things will go smoothly, and look forward to working closely with Maria and Harry, our incoming VP Admin. Working closely with Rabbi is a true blessing, and one that I ap preciate greatly. OK, moving on -1 look forward to getting to work with Craig as our new Education Director, and continu?ing to work with Roberta as our Program Director, Philip as our great-sounding Cantorial Soloist, Rabbi, and our volunteers, too numerous to mention. As always, no "Thank you" article would be complete without my huge THANK YOU to our hard working staff of Karen, Angie, Mary and Lynette. We couldn't do what we do without you, and I, and we, appreciate you and your work. We look forward to moving into our new buildings on our new campus, and I'm sure that everyone will join us as we have our Gala Opening Events Weekend! Look for further details to come (yes, I ne ed to tease everyone to watch for more information coming!) Lastly, Thank You to the entire Congregation for allowing me to be your Executive Director, a jo b and a calling that I truly enjoy and appreciate. Cantorial Soloist Annual Report Philip Goldstein It's hard to believe that another year has passed... "one season following another". Well enough of Fiddler On The Roof. When I look back and reflect (which time does not permit very often) I am amazed at all that has been achieved during the past year here at CNT... I love it!!! I have a great sense of accomplishment for the past year's music programming and look forward to another exciting year. Over this past year we've had special guests at CNT like Dan Nichols and his band Eighteen to give us more beautiful music than we've ever had before. More music, concerts and special events are planned for the coming year... stay tuned. I want to acknowledge the hard work and talents of a lot of people here at CNT. First I want to recognize the wonderful people that we have in the office. Angie, Karen, Mary, Lynette and Roberta, thank you all. As we come in to the summer months I a lso want to recognize some other individuals for their hard work and dedication. First I want to thank Lillian Kollar for her amazing talents and incredible musical ability. She is one of the best accompanists I have ever worked with and I greatly appreciate her. Thank you so much Lillian. I want to thank Lois Bergman for her wonderful job of tutoring the B'nai Mitzvah students. They continue to do an outstanding job and I continually receive positive feedback from the parents of our students. I also want to thank Lori Frankl and Sheri Swezey for their conducting the Junior Choir and the Teen Choir. They've never sounded better. Myreen Ashenbach for accompanying the Jr. choir. And speaking of choirs, our fabulous Adult Choir deserves a round of applause for their hard work over this past year (since High Holy Days) you all are the best. A special thanks to John Smith, the Adult Choir Director, for his wonderful ability to have the choir sounding their best. Thank you to all the choirs. Our Adult and Jr. Choirs sang consistently throughout the year. These programs have become well established and we continue to welcome new members and grow throughout the year. I must thank all of the members of the Shabbatones band, who volunteer their talent and energy into this program: Ira Spector, Jay Poster, Glori Rosenberger, Alan Molasky, Eddie Birch, Matthew Birch, Brad Torchin, and Mike Adler. Without all of their enthusiasm and hard work, there would be no Shabbatones. We have grown together as a band and as friends. This truly has been a year of exciting growth. I look forward to our new Temple and the exciting musical programming that I have planned. Ways & Means Annual Report Mike Unger- VP Ways & Means The goal of the Ways and Means Committees is to create ideas, encourage donations, and oversee several fundraising events throughout the year. Monies raised from these efforts is used to augment funds received from membership dues and help to support religious services, Temple programs, pay the staff, and cover normal ongoing operating expenses. Some of our fundraising programs include: the Kol Nidre Campaign, the Mensch of the Year Dinner, Menorah Level Donor participation, staffing and operating our gift wrap booth at the Galleria Mall, and serving on the CNT Perpetual Trust Committee. The efforts of some of our committee members also touch other Temple campaigns, to insure that they do not conflict with one another. Our committee members are involved with the New Campus Campaign, the Men's Club Health Fair, the Men's Club Golf Tournament, the Sisterhood Chanukah Bazaar, the Purim Carnival, and coupon book promotions. As I c omplete my third year as Vice President, I look forward to the future with great promise and anticipation. I look forward to the opening of our new facility and the opportunities it will create for our congregation. I am confident the many and varied planned events will certainly raise additional funds for the programs our leadership wants to develop and present to our membership. I l ook forward to staging and promoting an Israeli Art Festival in the new social hall by mid year 2007. I am very excited about our planned grand opening gala celebrating the opening of our new facility, and our opportunity to honor the Greenspun family for their years of guidance, support and remarkable generosity. To all the congregants who have volunteered their time, to all the congregants who have supported our fundraising efforts and participated in our events, to all the Board members for their hours of dedication, and to all the staff members who gave devotion and commitment far far beyond their obligation as an employee of our organization, I thank you. Let's make this next year the biggest ever! Ritual Annual Report Maxine Molinsky, VP Ritual This has been a year of change and transition for CNT, but thru it all, the religious activities and worship of the temple has remained strong and vital. The Saturday morning Minyon continues to grow and challenge the learning of those involved. It is a strong and committed group of congregants. A community Kiddush and Hamotzi was implemented this year so that we could participate as a community in these special prayers. The Ritual Committee formalized a motion to present to the board regarding informing our congregants by email of the death of a congregant or family members. We have continued to be responsible for helping to choose High Holyday honors, bima guests for Shabbat, and helped in planning a special service for Shavuot. Most important, the committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Rabbi on worship and religious practices. As I leav e this position after 3 years of service, I want to thank my outstanding committee for their commitment and dedication. You have been an inspiration to me. Thank you, Karen Levine, for just being the wonderful person you are and for your support and help. It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the board these past three years under the leadership and direction of Scott Stolberg. And finally, thank you Rabbi Akselrad for your spiritual guidance. Treasurer's Annual Report Gregg Solomon - Treasurer 2005 was a busy, interesting and unusual year for CNT's finances. Being a new member to the Board and my first stint as a Treasurer required some getting up to speed, but with the help of so many people such as Scott, Maria, Jerry, Irv, Roberta, and the entire CNT staff, I managed to muddle through it. Special thanks goes out to Barry Lewisohn, for contributing so much of his time and accounting expertise and for covering for me so often. Not being an accountant, I felt it important to address the business issues that result from any organization's growth from a "mom and pop" size organization to a million dollar a year plus business with an almost $20 million dollar construction project. CNT now has all the types of controls in place to monitor our financial health as any major business would have. We have implemented all the recommendations from the 2004 accounting review in regards to payables, receivables and checking account controls. We drafted a three-year budget for the bank financing (the first long-term budget in CNT history) - this was particularly challenging in that it required assumptions for our year in transition, as well as the first two years in a Temple that doesn't exist yet. We drafted a 2006 balanced budget in spite of some very trying financial realities. The 2005 accounting year was reconciled and closed out properly, with all the appropriate balance sheet and income statements produced. Fixed assets that were either fully depreciated or abandoned were written off of our fixed asset records. Major banking or investment accounts were created or transferred to maximize revenues, improve controls and provide for our construction account funding. General Ledger accounts have been streamlined and a r igid structure devised for new account creation. And finally, an outside review was performed by an independent analyst with specific recommendations as to how to improve our day-to-day accounting procedures, all of which have been implemented. For 2006, weekly cash-flow reports are distributed to senior staff to monitor our cash positions. Each month the checking accounts are reconciled, and financial statements and other reports are generated to track our progress both by month and year to date, identifying variances from our initial projections. All monthly statements are reviewed by an outside accounting firm for reasonableness. Our accounting system, Rakefet, has been upgraded to allow for normal aging of accounts receivables, and all appropriate staff have received additional training in how to use the system. All financial reporting now comes out of the accounting system, improving accuracy and eliminating the need to maintain numerous spreadsheets. Accounting daily/weekly/monthly checklists have been created to standardize the in-house accounting function. 2006 will be the year that CNT has its first fully audited financial statements. All of these accomplishments were a re sult of some fantastic leadership from Scott, Maria, Jerry and our Rabbi, to name a few, and to the dedication and hard work of the Board, dozens of volunteers and the CNT staff. I am confident that CNT is ready for the substantial membership and financial growth that our new Temple will bring. Membership Recruitment Annual Report Jay Poster - VP Membership Recruitment The purpose of the CNT Membership Recruitment Committee is to facilitate bringing new members into the Congregation. This year the Membership Recruitment and Membership Retention Committees with VP Marsha Goldberg, worked together on all programs. Members of the committee for 2005-2006 are: Jay Poster, Marsha Goldberg, David Shapin, Andrea Harris-Brown, Fay Shoenfeld, Leo Shoenfeld, Debbie Hallerman, Mel Hallerman, Summer Rivlin, Jodi Kurtzman, Sharon Glickman, Kristin Theys, Steve Weinstein and Mirta Dreiman. Our major prospective membership event this year was our very successful Shabbatones Service in September. We had over 700 in attendance, with many perspective members. The congregation distributed the new Shabbatones CD prior to the service. The membership committee and board members worked the newly constructed membership booth during the Oneg in order to be more visible as we distributed membership information. Our goal during this transition year has been to maintain our membership. We understand that we are going to lose some members due to normal attrition and other members because of our relocation to Green Valley. However, we do expect our membership to spike once our construction become more visible, as we get closer to the High HolyDays, and ultimately when our new synagogue is complete in 2007. We expect 2006-2007 to be a banner year for congregational membership. Our current membership is at 560 families. This is a n et loss of 15 families since the same time last year. If you are interested in joining the Membership Committee, please contact the temple office at 733- 6292. Membership Retention Annual Report Marsha Goldberg - VP Membership Retention As the VP of the Membership Retention, I have been working hard to devise some new programs to keep our congregants engaged during this crucial year when we are without a p ermanent building. I have been attempting to form a committee of several volunteers to help me organize and develop new ideas. I will be meeting with Rabbi to discuss the focus he would like us to work on. So far this year, we have sponsored the following programs: We had two "New Member Coffees" in the fall, one on each side of town. The west side was hosted by Mary & Danny Socolof and was poorly attended due to some miscommunication. The east side was hosted by Stacey Yahraus and was well attended. ? We honored our "Congregants of the Year" in January. Bette Stahl and Jennifer Cohen shared the well-deserved honor for their time and effort on behalf of IHN, now called Family Promise. In March, the temple held their Progressive Dinner." A letter was sent to all new members on behalf of the Membership Committee personally inviting our newest members to attend. Overall, the evening was a great success and new and old members mingled and enjoyed a delightful evening.' I have been working with Del Acosta to have "Greeters" at the door each Friday night. This has been somewhat successful and hopefully will become stronger with time. Since we are without a building, we did not plan other events that would normally take place during the course of the year. For our Annual Picnic held Sunday, May 7, we were hosted by Midbar Kodesh, who has volunteered to cover the entire cost of the event to welcome us to Green Valley. We a wonderful turnout for this event and I was there to meet and greet for the entire duration of the event One of the policies I have been working to institute is to have our Board contact all of our congregants twice yearly. This policy has been noted in several different sources for keeping congregants engaged in the temple. A list was distributed by Roberta Unger in March (in my absence) to each Board member and they were asked to make their calls prior to Passover. At this time, I do not know just how many of our Board members completed their task. Social Action Annual Report Cindyjensen - VP Social Action What does Tikun Olam really mean? How can each of us make a difference? How do we fulfill our sacred charge to help repair the world? Confucius said that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." In that spirit, the Social Action Committee says, "the repair of our world happens one mitzvah at a time." Last year many of you made time and took advantage of the opportunities to help repair our world by bringing foodstuffs to the High HolyDays Food Drive for Jewish Family Services. You also contributed to Hurricane Katrina relief. In fact, we nearly filled a semi-truck trailer to help those who had lost so much. And we were just getting warmed up! Rabbi Akselrad, Judge William O. Voy and attorney James O'Reilly joined together in December for a Social Action Forum entitled, 'End of Life Decisions'. We could have called it, 'Since We're All Terminal, How Can I Now Faithfully and Legally Provide For Myself and My Family In the Event I Am Unable To Make Decisions For Myself but it seemed a little long-winded. Each speaker brought this difficult topic into focus through their unique perspective. Rabbi Akselrad, of course, spoke from the Jewish perspective to the issues facing us. Judge Voy gave us the view from the bench as he led us through the process of court filings and hearings required to compel treatment or non-treatment when last wishes were not codified Mr. O'Reilly, as a s pecialist in elder law, spoke to us as an advocate. He identified each of the areas to consider and clarified the possible choices. Notaries were available following the discussion for those who wanted to codify their decisions. Mitzvah Menorah has become an annual opportunity to celebrate Chanukah by providing gifts for Jewish families. Your generous response helped create lasting memories for many in our community. In January we celebrated what we hope will be an annual event - Mitzvah Day! We proved once and for all that you are never too old, too young, or too anything else not to make a difference. Every age group was represented as we joined together to paint the Family Promise day house and detail their van. We met some of our new neighbors at an Interfaith Seder we hosted at Green Valley Presbyterian Church. Thanks to those who made time to help plan and cook we were able to provide a full traditional Jewish Passover meal. The service was led by our Rabbinic intern Jon Jaffe. Over fifty people, representing four churches, attended this celebration. This year we applied for and received a 'Senior Rides' grant from the Jewish Federation that provides for transportation so that all of our community can participate in religious services. Chesed is the essence of community. Reaching out in compassion and caring for each other is part of who we are as a people. Just as Moses and his appointed elders before us, we recognize that lay leaders can help bear the burdens of our community. The Chesed Committee has organized volunteers for hospital visitation, bereavement and community support not in place of, but alongside, Rabbi. Many of our seniors recently took advantage of Chesed-sponsored seminars that explained the details of the new prescription drug program and helped those who qualified sign up for benefits. So the question remains, how can I make a difference? To mitzvah, is to recognize that you - right where you are, meeting no special requirements - possess everything you need to make a difference. You c an't mitzvah by osmosis - it takes action! We are looking for new forum and seminar ideas, community project opportunities and, oh - first, last and always - volunteers! Judaism requires our participation in the repair of our world and the Committee for Social Action wants to help you get involved fulfilling this most basic tenant of our faith. Education & Youth Annual Report Beth Falk - VP Education & Youth We started this transitional school year with the addition of Ayelet Blit as our new Director of Education. Under Ayelet's leadership, the religious school thrived. Changes were made to enrich the Judaic curriculum and the Hebrew program was totally restructured. Students were placed according to ability instead of being placed by grade level. Beginner and advanced level students were able to work in small groups allowing for more one on one instruction. Pulling students out of the class for Hebrew also significantly reduced the teacher/student ratio in the grade level Hebrew classes. Also adding to the success of the Hebrew program was Ayelet's ability to staff the weekday eastside (Gibson Elementary School) and Westside (Ober Elementary School) classes with the same Sunday Hebrew teachers. Consistency being the key factor for its success. The Parent Committee played a valuable role in supporting the programming in the religious school. Alan Mann and Jackie Rosen headed up the committee. Each class was assigned a class parent who acted as a liaison to the committee. It was the parent committee that was instrumental in organizing our move. With the help of parent volunteers, classrooms were cleaned and packed up. Teachers received rolling carts to transport books and supplies. The adventure begins. This year we had several Family Education Programs. Highlights were Hanukkah and Passover. The Family Hanukkah program was delicious as the students made edible menorahs. At the end of the program, everyone gathered in the social hall. It was an emotional moment as the students and staff said goodbye to our Synagogue. This years' Purim Carnival was filled with goldfish (donated by ATM), cakes, face painting and amusements (donated by Gary Bordman). The children had a great time. Thank you to everyone who donated items for this years themed baskets which will be auctioned off at our final Sunday at Religious School. The Passover Program was well attended. Students made sedar plates, sang songs (Pharaoh Pharaoh) and the ten plagues came to life right before our eyes. The Passover candy fundraiser was a success raising nearly $1,000 for our school. In addition, it was a very busy year for our Teen Programs. Pam Poster was the advisor for TNT and organized several events for students grade 6-8. NTTY had an exciting year. Co. Advisors Yvonne Greenfield and Jolie Brislin did an outstanding job organizing SAW (Social Action Weekend) over Martin Luther King Weekend. The event brought in hundreds of teens from the western region. Most events were held at The Hebrew Academy. The highlights of the weekend were Friday Night services run by our own Ner Tamid teens. Guest speaker Nan Spector shared her experience as a volunteer helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thank you to all of the families that hosted and transported out of town teens. Special thanks to Beth Bromberg who served as the Youth Advisor. As the school year comes to an end we sadly say goodbye to Ayelet Blit. Due to personal reasons, she has decided not to renew her contract. She has done a superior job and we will miss her But with every end, there is a new beginning and we warmly welcome Craig Rosen as our new Director of Education. Religious School Annual Report Ayelet Dagan-Blit - Director of Education Wow - what a year at the Religious School! We had a wonderful year in spite the many challenges we faced. We started the year at our previous home at Emerson, with many more teachers joining our growing school and a new curriculum. Our students learned about the Jewish year cycle as the holidays came, focused on reading, writing and understanding Hebrew, and each grade also focused on learning a specific theme that was special only for them. Synagogue, Israel, Being a Mench, Jewish Values and Holocaust were some of these subjects. Parashat Ha'Shvua (Torah weekly portion) was another subject learned every week. Reaching the time of Chanukah, we reached a culmination point for our school. With a beautiful assembly, we celebrated Chanukah and said goodbye to our long time home. The students with the help of their parents created Chanukah projects and helped pack and clear the classes from all our belongings. We than culminated with an assembly in which we lighted and blessed the candles of the Chanukiya (Chanukah s Menorah), sang songs, and again said good bye to our sanctuary. It was an emotional day that started a new era for us - "The Temporary Stage." We reconvened at Gibson Elementary after the winter break. Occupying fifteen classrooms, the multi-purpose room, and spread all over the school's ground, we learned that e