Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mandy Patinkin in Our Homeland!

Words cannot express how spectacular last Saturday's closing event for the 150th anniversary year was! From the jewel-box decor and lighting, to the delectable hors d'oeuvres and perfectly prepared food, the impeccable wait service, the ideal temperature provided by the outdoor heaters, the smooth logistics at check-in -- really there could not have been a more perfect evening for Beth Israel. 
 
Mandy Patinkin was an outstanding performer and his graciousness shone through in every way in his performance and in the genuine warmth he feels for our congregation. We are so grateful to Joanne Gimbel, Mandy's sister, for talking Mandy into such a marvelous performance.
 
We had such a glittering and happy full house to close out the 150th anniversary year!

The event was chaired by Bev and Len Bernstein and Carol and Ron Fox. Mary Ann Scher chaired the whole 150th anniversary year. All the hard work over many months -- six more than originally planned -- were well worth it. The energy, creativity and dedication that all the volunteers put in made the event far more fabulous than anyone could have anticipated.

Thanks in no small part to all the excellent programming of the 150th year, Beth Israel today is celebrating a glorious era of engaged members, stability, and peace in our house. Now that the celebration is over, we will be there, continuing to create fascinating, cutting-edge programs, and heartfelt and meaningful worship services. So please come back often and see us at Beth Israel.





 
 
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Emily's Welcome Remarks:
 
I’d like to add my welcome to this dazzling Closing Gala and thank the wonderful chairs who’ve made it happen: Bev and Len Bernstein and Carol and Ron Fox.

And what a spectacular year we have celebrated. We opened with San Diego’s political elite. And we’re closing with one of Hollywood and Broadway’s elite.
At the beginning of our 150th year, our Opening Celebration was joyful, with dancing in the aisles and cupcakes for all.  But it was also solemn because we were embarking on the creation of a sacred Torah.

That year-long project engaged as many as half our families in scribing.  When completed, on Simchat Torah, our members processed with the new Torah into the Glickman-Galinson Sanctuary in a pageant of great majesty. Under a bridal chuppah, the Torah was carried through the Price Family Courtyard through an aisle lined with hundreds of congregants, many with tears brimming in their eyes.
 
We unrolled the Torah scroll all the way around the sanctuary with hundreds of members, young and old, supporting the parchment in their hands. This visual drove home that this really is our new 150th anniversary Torah. And already it is being used each Shabbat by our b’nai mitzvah children.

Several families dedicated the Torah’s beautiful silver accoutrements.  And most fittingly, Beth Israel dedicated the Torah’s splendid crown in honor of Mary Ann Scher, chair of this entire, incredible, 150th year.

This evening’s Concluding Gala is one of just pure joy.  We are thrilled to have among us at dinner tonight the family of Jewish-American legend Mandy Patinkin.  When the doors of the concert hall open after this beautiful dinner, Beth Israel will fill the entire hall for Mandy’s performance.

Beth Israel is stronger today than a year ago when our celebration began. For that, I speak for the whole congregation, when I thank you, our most generous supporters.  Because you are committed to ensuring the strong future of Reform Judaism in San Diego, Beth Israel will continue to serve San Diego’s Jewish people for the next 150 years.
I’ve attended nearly all of the dozens of programs, events and celebrations of the 150th.  It’s been truly inspiring to me to see how involved you’ve all been in our celebratory year. 

In closing, I encourage you to come back to Beth Israel often. Beth Israel today is celebrating a glorious era of engaged members, stability, and peace in our house. When the celebration is over, we will be there, continuing to create fascinating, cutting-edge programs, and heartfelt and meaningful worship services.

We will be there as the historic center of Jewish life in San Diego. An inclusive Reform congregation – that offers a warm welcome and a nurturing home to all who seek a meaningful and enduring connection to Judaism.
 
Rabbis Michael Berk, Arlene Bernstein and Michael Satz
President Emily Jennwein and Cantor Emeritus Sheldon Merel.

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