The start of summer is a touchpoint. A time of reflection, graduation celebrations, and weddings and a chance to rejuvenate with a walk on the beach, travel, and time spent with family and friends. There are so many touch points within our community at RSNS, ways to find meaning in Jewish religious practices and traditions, lifelong learning, and participating in social action. We have a strong and child-centered nursery school in Gan Shalom and a Synagogue School, where a wonderful, nurturing group of teachers educate our children as they grow towards their B’nei Mitzvah. We are so fortunate to have Adrienne Rosen as our Gan Shalom Director and Rebecca Hirschwerk as our Director of Congregational Education. At Synagogue School in the fall, Rebecca will be piloting a new program, Kulanu, for children with special needs that will provide an alternative religious school experience. Opportunities continue for our young adults in Rabbi Jodie’s Girls Rosh Hodesh and Cantor Eric’s Boys Bros Hodesh groups. We are so fortunate to also have adult learning in Rabbi Lee’s Torah Study and Saturday Seminar and in Eric’s Cantor’s Dinner. Rabbi Jodie’s Women’s Rosh Hodesh group has expanded to provide connection and learning in what is now Emoonah. We are also in the second year of our Small Groups initiative providing opportunities for meaningful connection with fellow congregants.

In preparing for the recent congregational meeting, I had the opportunity to reflect on the previous year at RSNS and look ahead to the new one. We have strengthened our community with initiatives to redesign our website, learn and implement marketing strategies, and analyze ways to support the work of our committees. Our onboarding of Kesef, an accounting firm, has been an asset to monitor our financial status. The Security Committee continues to be very active with the grants for upgrading our building and the new burglar and fire alarm systems have passed inspection and are operational.

In the wake of the horrific attack on Israel on October 7, our Clergy have supported our community through these difficult nine months. Early on, the clergy partnered with their fellow clergy and we have hosted and participated in vigils with the other congregations in our area. They also created space within the many groups that they work with for congregants to share their feelings and come together in the community. More recently, Rabbi Jodie and Cantor Eric have been supporting our young adults navigating the turmoil on college campuses. Rabbi Jodie went with UJA on a solidarity mission trip to Israel and shared her journey with us in real time. As you know, Rabbi Jodie and I after seeing the magnitude of the ongoing situation were in agreement that it was not the right time for Rabbi Jodie not to be present in the congregation and therefore we decided to postpone her sabbatical until next year. We thank her for her unwavering devotion to our community. The Board also agreed to have a security assessment to have a full-time security guard to protect all our members with the continuing rise of anti-semitism. Thank you to the whole congregation for supporting this necessity.

Shaliyah in Hebrew means messenger. I hope that this message underscores the ongoing strength and vibrancy of our congregation. The vast opportunities at RSNS would not be possible without the dedication of our incredible Executive Director, Liza Wilson, along with

Shahrzad in the office and Daniel, Craig and Oscar keeping us safe and having the building ready for the multitude of happenings at RSNS each day.

At this touchpoint at RSNS, we are starting our new term for the Board of Trustees and fiscal year. I want to thank the outgoing and incoming Board for their dedication and commitment to our community. I would also like to thank all of the Committee Chairs and volunteers who gave their time to RSNS. We are blessed to have this warm and caring community that is always there to support us on our individual and collective journeys. So in this time of reflection and celebration, I wish you a relaxing summer filled with many touchpoints. May we continue to move forward together at RSNS from strength to strength.

Susan Liberstein

RSNS Co-President