David Plass, Board Installation June 20

Those of you who know me might say I am a man of few words.  So you won’t be surprised that I discovered a Jewish proverb that efficiently sums up my personality. It goes like this:
Do not only be wise in your words - 
be wise in your deeds.
Those of you who don’t know me yet will come to understand that this means while I often do have strong opinions about things, more often, I prefer to “get things done” instead of just talking about them.  And if I say I’ll do something, I will try my best to do it.

Like all my predecessors, I have goals, ideas, and dreams about what I want to accomplish in my term as your President. My challenge to the incoming board and officers is:

First. Lead by example. Come to services and congregational events; promote membership in the synagogue; emphasize the importance of Jewish education for people of all ages; and most importantly, be our members’ advocates on the board.  The more involved in the temple the board is, the more everyone in the congregation will want to be involved.  Excitement is contagious (in the good way)!

Second. Be “slow to anger, ready to forgive”.  There will be disagreements among us — some big, some small.  Let’s not let our disagreements lead to anger or resentment.  Instead, let’s “agree to disagree”.  I’ve worked with many of you since I joined the board and know that when we work together we can do a lot of great things as a cohesive team.

Last. Keep me on my toes, and I'll keep you on yours.  This goes back to the saying “Do not only be wise in your words - be wise in your deeds”.  If you say you will do something, I will take you for your word.  I will try my best to do the same.

I have already tasted some of the enormous responsibility that being President will involve, and I'll attempt to live up to all your expectations.  With that said, I know that I won’t be doing this alone.  I look to all of you - the executive committee, our newly installed board of trustees, and of course the congregation, to accompany me on this journey.  Before the days of email people used to say “My door is always open” — but as a computer guy, I will instead say “My Gmail is always open”. And it's true!  Please please please, feel free to contact me, ask me, let me know about anything that’s on your mind regarding the temple or its operation.  Thank you in advance for your input.

I would like to thank both the nominating committee and the executive committee for their vote of confidence when they nominated me as your next President. I also must thank my wonderful wife Sue for her endless and loving support of this endeavor so far, and my kids for not complaining about me going to a zillion meetings already.

To the board and members of the executive committee: I thank you for your service so far.  I’ve grown close to many of you and hope you can provide me advice when requested — and maybe even some unsolicited advice. For those of you leaving the board, I hope to see you return in future years, if you would so desire.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank Allen Bender, our future former Chairman of the Board.  His calm presence, guidance, advice, and wisdom have always been inspirational to me personally.   Allen’s ability to get the Executive Committee and the Board to come to a well-balanced, acceptable decision on even the most divisive of topics is a skill that few people have, and that many should strive for.  I hope you and Laurie enjoy your new status as snowbirds!

Rabbi Mickey and Cantor Dan, I’ve enjoyed working with you the last few years and I look forward to working with you even more closely during my term as President. I would of course say the same to Rabbi Brown, who is still on sabbatical for a few weeks.

Pam, our outgoing President — you leave me very large shoes to fill, figuratively speaking. I remember when I was on the nominating committee and your name came up as a possible President.  I didn’t really know you at the time, but since then, I have seen your eager spirit, ability to delegate when needed, yet lead when required, and your desire for progress. You have given so much of your time, your energy, and your life to this temple for many, many years. I’ve seen firsthand what you have accomplished and how you have done it, and it is truly inspiring.  These are all qualities I hope to emulate.  When I joined the executive committee you took me under your wing and I can’t thank you enough for that. You’ve done everything you can to prepare me for this position and I know that I am better off for your efforts.  Thank you also for sharing Peter with the board for this coming year!

And now, if you will indulge me a moment more, I’d like to ask Pam to come up here.  As my first official function, I have a small token of our appreciation.  On behalf of the board and the entire congregation, I would like to present this to you.  It says:
Presented To
Temple Beth Am of Merrick & Bellmore
2012 - 2014
Board Of Trustees

Thank you everyone, and Shabbat Shalom

Copyright 2014, David Plass