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Feb 19

Thursday’s AGM: Merle Williams final report back, new committee installed

The new Management Committee (Mancom) elected at Thursday evening’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be Chaired by Irwin Manoim, with James Lomberg as Vice-Chair (and Hon. Secretary) and Ian West continuing as Treasurer. Bianca Shakinovsky will be the Alternate Vice-Chair (also Events & Fundraising). The first meeting of the new committee will take place next Thursday evening, and thereafter usually on the second Thursday of each month.

Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked paid tribute to outgoing Chair, Professor Merle Williams, who has served the congregation in just about every management role for 15 years, including stints as Chair, Vice-Chair, Guardian, and on the Ritual Committee. Outgoing Vice-Chair Russell Cohen, who is standing down from the Management Committee will take up the new post of ‘Strategic Development’, aimed at increasing the ‘footprint’ of Beit Emanuel in the community and providing support to Mancom.

Summing up her year in office, Merle Williams said as follows:

“Beit Emanuel has found its niche as a Progressive congregation strongly informed by the principles of prophetic Judaism, with a firm commitment to spiritual reflection, tikkun olam and openness to the wider South African community. Under the leadership of Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked, attendance at services has grown and educational programmes for adults and children have flourished, although some work is still needed on formal curriculum development. Numbers in the Religion School have almost doubled; at the same time, youth activities have become a key focus, bearing in mind that increased participation is needed at pre-Religion School and post-bar/bat mitzvah levels. The Care Committee has played a vital role in supporting members in need, while the choir has distinguished itself by giving a delightful concert and recording a CD. An outstanding fundraising team contributed over R100,000 to community resources from its gala event in November.” Although 2015/16 has been a year of consolidation and achievement, the congregation faces a couple of major challenges. It is important to increase membership in order to ensure the longevity and financial sustainability of the congregation. Decisions will also have to be taken in the near future about using our prime property on Oxford Road to generate income and to provide appropriate facilities for a community with a changing profile. Merle thanked the Rabbi, the Management Committee, the Board of Guardians and the staff of Beit Emanuel for their collaboration and support.

In his budget presentation, Treasurer Ian West said ‘given the many constraints facing us we must nevertheless strive to do better financially in 2016’.

Others on the new Management Committee are as follows: Max Green (Kehilla), Lee Greenblatt (Events & Fundraising), Hester Hollander (HR & Fundraising), Simonne Horwitz, Jacquie Ikin (Introduction To Judaism Liaison), Candice Schneider (Kehilla), Jessica Sherman (Programming & Adult Education) and Bruny Simpson (Catering & Crafts).

Paul Davis was re-elected to the Board of Guardians, and David Fienberg fills the slot now vacated by Irwin Manoim.