Thank You My Friends!

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Robin Osman

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust, French novelist

It’s nearly impossible to believe that two years as president and six years on the presidential track (two years as second VP, two years as first VP and two years as president) have flown by so quickly. As my term as temple president winds down, my heart overflows with gratitude, love and joy. There are many people to thank for making this such a wonderful experience.

Thank you to all in our temple family for your support, your kind words, your trust and the love you have shown me over these last several years. You have truly made the job of being president delightful. I’m grateful for all you do. It’s not easy to ask, so thank you for saying yes. Yes to giving time, yes to making donations, yes to showing up for the quorum and a hundred other things. We are a strong and vibrant community because of you.

So many individuals deserve thanks. I wish I could mention each of you by name, but then my article would take up the entire Shofar. I would like to thank you personally, so I hope you will join us for the volunteer reception on Monday, June 12, at 7:15 p.m., when I can offer my wholehearted appreciation in person.

Leading a congregation is not something one can accomplish alone. It’s teamwork, and the players at TBE are outstanding. Our executive committee feels like the dream team, and I am incredibly lucky to work with such a smart, strategic, thoughtful, generous and compassionate gang. Thank you to Jay Lavroff (first VP), Leigh Miller (second VP), Gary Cohen (recording secretary), Andrea Bradley (financial secretary), Jay Taylor (treasurer), Leslie Kass (corresponding secretary) and Debbie Herman, who was corresponding secretary last year. Your wise counsel, commitment and partnership have been invaluable to me over the years. You each bring so much to the table, and it is a privilege for me to call myself a member of this team.

Thank you to past presidents Cindy Andrews and Lil Swickle for your teaching and guidance along my leadership journey. And to Liz Cohen and Steve Weitz for your willingness to share your great wisdom and mentor me. I am grateful to all our past presidents for your support and advice throughout the years.

Our board members, committee chairs and many volunteers are an outstanding group. You love Temple Beth-El and serve our community with passion, dedication and countless hours of your time. Some of you have been loyal volunteers for decades, including Shuey Horowitz, who is timing off the board due to the term limit after nine years of dedicated service. Thank you all!

Our administrative and custodial staff deserves recognition and praise. Day in and day out, you quietly work to keep things running seamlessly at TBE. Thank you to Susan Walters, Betty Parenti, Ivy Anglin, Fernando Murillo, Jennifer Claxton, Luis Stanley, Eugenia Rodriguez and Luis Murillo. And many thanks to Kathy Shanklin for the beautiful music and wonderful presence you bring to TBE.

Thank you to our professional staff, which is second to none. Cantor Pincus, Education Directors Sarah Gluck and Lisa Friedman, and Director of Youth Engagement Rachel Frish, it would be difficult to imagine a more talented, committed, hard-working and overall wonderful team. You strive for excellence every day, and put your hearts and souls into all you do. It’s an absolute joy to work with professionals of your caliber.

Amy Rubin, you are our executive director extraordinaire. I have never met anyone who was quite so good at so many things! We have basically been attached at the hip since that glorious day when you joined our staff, partnering on projects large and small. You are the glue that holds everything together at TBE. I am so very grateful for all you do, and for the wisdom and advice you have shared with me as a past president.

Rabbi Arnie, you inspired my “spiritual awakening” nine years ago, and you have inspired me every day since. You excel in every aspect of your job, and you are the greatest blessing a congregation could ever have. Our partnership these last few years has been everything I hoped it would be and more. It is an honor to be your partner in this sacred work. You are my teacher, my rabbi, my personal coach, my cheerleader, my friend and so much more. Mere words cannot express the depth of my gratitude for all you have given and taught me over the years.

I’m grateful to my family for your support and love throughout my leadership journey. Thank you to Eric and Alex, my boys who live in Philly, for coming to support me whenever I asked. And thank you to Larry and our daughter Jamie. It isn’t easy being the husband or child of the temple president. I am eternally grateful to you for your patience with all the missed dinners, evenings at temple and the seemingly endless stream of emails and phone calls that go along with the territory.

What Michelle Obama said about being FLOTUS, I say about being POTBE (president of TBE). “It has been the greatest honor of my life.” Thank you for trusting me to carry the torch for this wonderful community for a short while. Please join us at the congregational meeting on June 12 at 8:00 p.m., when I will pass the gavel on to Jay Lavroff. Jay will lead with strength and compassion, and we will be in very capable hands. May we go from strength to strength!

With gratitude and love,


Originally published in the May-June 2017 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives