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Our Five Pillar Honorees

The sanctuary of Congregation Beth Shalom (CBS) is ringed by stained glass depictions of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They are symbolic of our people’s founding. It is therefore fitting to elevate twelve CBS members and honor them for the work they have done to honor our past and ensure the synagogue’s second century.

When the CBS Strategic planning process concluded in 2012, leadership identified five pillars to support the synagogue in the future. They are Worship Participation, Youth Engagement, Financial Stability, Human Resources, and Outreach to members and the community. Any action of the synagogue must satisfy at least one of these five pillars. During this Centennial Year, it was appropriate to honor members of our congregation whose volunteerism contributes to all five of these pillars. Quite a distinction. It was a weighty process, as there are so many devoted volunteers at CBS, but we know all the honorees listed below have more than earned this recognition. All of them though would rather be honoring others than accepting an honor for themselves.

1. Marla Cooper

Marla Has been on the Board of Directors for 15 years, ten of those years on the Executive Committee.
In 2013. At several key moments of our congregation’s history, Marla made critical decisions, all with the future of the CBS at the forefront. 

In 2003, Marla reorganized and presided over the Sisterhood, an organization that did not exist at CBS for almost ten years. She chaired our Strategic Planning Committee, consisting multiple task force groups. This led to the identification of our synagogue’s Five Strategic Pillars that we are celebrating during this Centennial Celebration. Marla assumed the presidency of the congregation, for the second time, during the worst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Presiding over a changed society, listening to requests for in-person worship, and weighing the need to keep clergy and members safe, she charged her officers to use all their skills to engage the congregation. Again, looking to the long-term success of CBS, Marla organized the Cantorial and Hebrew School Task Force that changed our staffing model to attract and retain younger families. Marla’s professional experience and persuasion skills were also essential in the formation of the Second Century Campaign, established to retire our synagogue’s debt and provide a fund for the future. 

Photo: Marla Cooper

2. Jill Downard

Financial people are often tasked with the job of saying “no.” We are fortunate that Jill Downard often says yes. Not necessarily to a larger budget, but to the leadership positions she assumes. Jill has served in various executive committee offices since 2005, and has given sage advice as either secretary, assistant treasurer, or treasurer for ten different presidents.

Jill is now Assistant Treasurer, but has served as Finance Committee Chair, Dues Committee Chair, House and Grounds Committee member, an active member of the CBS Renovation Committee, and the CBS Life Transition Support Group. It is Chair of the Yizkor Book Committee that stands out most for her. She believes many people connect to Judaism through an association with their departed loved ones during Yizkor services. The Yizkor Book, she says, must be as correct and meaningful as possible.

Jill gives of her time, but she says the synagogue has given her so much more during times of joy, challenges, and sorrow. She calls Congregation Beth Shalom “our second family.”   While Jill would describe much of her work as “behind the scenes”, it is time to put her out front as a Five Pillar Honoree.

3. Stacey Friedland

Stacey and her family joined CBS 24 years ago when their first year was free. Our synagogue has received dividends on that investment many times over.  Not long after joining the synagogue, Stacey sat on the board of directors. Inspired by the young Rabbi Satlow, and many of the young couples she knew, she participated in the membership committee and then served four years as VP of Membership.

Stacey was on the gardening committee and the Kitchen Club, but she would spend hours volunteering in the gift shop while her children attended Hebrew school. The Gift Shop remains a passion. She coordinates many creative marketing efforts, along with long-time Gift Shop Chair Joyce Kaufmann.

When Stacey became chair of Tikkun Olam, she elevated that committee, and many lives in the community. She coordinated volunteers for the Refugee Integration Support Effort (RISE) and helped scores of people by coordinating efforts with Family Promise. Stacey is chair of the synagogue’s Second Friday Shabbat services, inviting community advocates to CBS to describe their efforts to repair the world. Stacey is a Five Pillar Honoree because she donates both human necessities, and volunteer time, which are key priorities for our congregation. 

Photo: Stacey Friedland

4. Gary Harad

Gary Harad has so many fond memories at CBS, not surprising with almost 45 years of membership. Gary observed his bar mitzvah, wedding to Jackie, and the bat mitzvot of his daughters here.  He joined the CBS Board in the early 80’s, chaired the Ritual Committee, and served on the Finance, Carnival, and two separate Rabbi Search Committees.

Gary even joined the CBS staff for almost three years in the late 90’s. He says one of his best memories was the Thank You Oneg Shabbat that was held for him after his service as executive director.

Many of our congregants know Gary for his long-standing commitment to morning minyan. He now is a daily participant, but, since he worked in retail most of his life, he was available to lead minyan on Sunday mornings, and has been doing that for approximately 40 years.

Gary continues to serve as chair of the Rabbi Jacob Kraft Foundation Trust. He and his fellow trustees are responsible for bringing high-quality educational speakers and programs to CBS. It is a role that has enriched us for years.

5. Pete Hazen

Pete Hazen will tell you that he is fueled by the spirituality, sights, sounds, and camaraderie of CBS---the observances that make the hard work worthwhile. And there has been quite a legacy of service from Pete and Laurie Hazen since they joined Congregation Beth Shalom in the late 90s.

One of the Executive Committee, Pete was Treasurer and then VP of Fundraising. He continues to support fundraising and treasurer activities since leaving those offices. He has been a member of the Finance, Dues, Strategic Planning, and Pandemic Response committees for years. Pete implemented the annual fund drive, making it effective for the synagogue administration, and user-friendly for congregants. Speaking of user-friendly, Pete helped select, purchase, install, and train the synagogue staff on the use of the digital sign in the front lobby.

The Men’s Club is a passion for Pete. He was Men’s Club Co-President with David Fruchtman in 2012 and continues to serve as Treasurer. He is an annual organizer at Latkapalooza, Men’s Club breakfasts, and Dollar Dog Days. He is a frequent attendee at Brews with Jews. And why not?

He has earned that beer as well as recognition as a Five Pillar Honoree.

6. Karolin Lipman

Karolin Lipman’s family escaped from Hungary in 1956. Just months later, the family visited CBS to meet Cantor Andrew Salzer, the “Hungarian Cantor.” They have been active members ever-since. 

Karolin remembers being one of the first bat mitzvahs in 1973, and her children would continue the tradition of Jewish Education at CBS. Karolin helped initiate the Tot Shabbat program some 28 years ago and has continued to attract members, serving twice as VP of Membership. In addition to welcoming people to our shul, Karolin, and Mark Lipman, spend countless hours helping resettle refugees in Delaware. Her family certainly knows the trauma these new arrivals are experiencing.

Karolin’s leadership was needed during critical times for our shul. She was co-president with Karin Karel during the two years our building was being renovated. That time was similar to what we experienced lately during the pandemic. She had to keep our congregation connected, and orchestrate services and programming, when the synagogue building was not available. Later, she and her busband co-chaired our synagogue’s elegant 90thAnniversary Event with the Klein Family.

Photo: Karolin Lipman

7. Sharon Rosengarten

Sharon Rosengarten has taught 5th grade students at CBS for nine years, was special projects coordinator, liaison to the Parent Teacher Activities Committee, and a two-time teacher of the year. She chaired the Purim Carnival twice, and is now the Hebrew School Administrator, working closely with Rabbi Nick Renner. Sharon used her considerable organizational skills for the Sisterhood. She chaired the Purim Mishloach Manot Fundraiser for five years, instituting a delivery system for hundreds of Purim treats, over the years.

Sharon has served many of us through work on the Chesed Committee, Kitchen Klub, and served several times on the board of directors’ nominating committee. Sharon does not do any of this to be honored. Her most significant contribution has been the honoring of others. For the last eight years Sharon, with the help of honors guru Celina Riebman, has chaired the Honors Committee for High Holy Days. Both Sharon and Celina are filling that same role for the Centennial celebration. So, it is entirely fitting that this Five Pillar Honor go to Sharon Rosengarten, who has honored so many of us for so many years.

Photo: Sharon Rosengarten

8. Faith Silver

Faith and her husband were attracted to CBS ten years ago because we are an egalitarian congregation, where everyone can be included in religious services. Faith would make “inclusion” her mission in everything she does at this shul. She has a long list of committee memberships, and was chair of the Membership, Tikkun Olam, and Centennial Celebration Committees. She has served as VP of both Membership Engagement, and Programming.  

Faith engaged her enthusiasm for Tikkun Olam well beyond our cozy synagogue group. She chaired CBS’ participation in Peace Drums , bringing Israeli and Palestinian children---all steel drum musicians—to the United States to tour. She helps people experiencing homelessness through her work with Family Promise. Faith helped settle our first refugee family from Afghanistan. She led an effort by more than sixty congregants and set a standard for how CBS should prioritize the needs of the refugee. 

When we were all refugees from our synagogue building during COVID, Faith and her loyal volunteers found ways to keep us connected with High Holy Day gift bags and member phone calls.

Faith celebrated an adult bat mitzvah at CBS, but her mitzvah projects continue, with no end in sight. 

Photo: Faith Silver

9. Edward Sobel

Edward Sobel has been a member of CBS for more than forty years.

When he and Anita joined in 1980, the synagogue was somewhat of a compromise. Anita came from a Conservative Jewish background, Edward was modern Orthodox. Their decision provided CBS with one of many power couples. Leadership positions, for Edward, would have to wait until his retirement.

He joined the Board of Directors more than ten years ago, and just a couple of years later, he served as President-Elect and then President. In those roles, Edward famously was seen in the building almost every day, both as an active member of morning minyan, and chief worker bee. He was an administrator in the office during times of staff turnover, trimmed shrubs in the parking lot, and became an expert in the part of the synagogue that most congregants avoid, house and grounds. 

Edward’s most challenging efforts would come after his presidency, serving as VP of Administration. Again, he would oversee changes in synagogue staff, and put his career as a doctor to good use, serving as chair of the Pandemic Response Task Force.

For all these efforts and for so many more unmentioned, Edward Sobel is a Five Pillar Honoree.

Photo: Edward Sobel

10. Cindi Viviano

Cindi Viviano has found ways to incorporate her communication, marketing, and organization skills into almost every aspect of our synagogue’s life.

As VP of membership, she developed welcoming opportunities for new members, creating a membership committee, synagogue open houses, trips to New York, and special new member Shabbatot and brunches. 

With Hayim Weiss, Cindi reimagined Kol Shalom and refreshed all the synagogue’s messaging channels.
During the pandemic Cindi found ways to innovate the membership directory, plan unique programming, develop the annual synagogue theme, and found relatable ways for our congregants to stay involved. For a second time, she served as Programming VP, helping our volunteers run programs virtually, until we were able to see one another in-person.

Many of us know about the activities and honors during this centennial year because Cindi stepped up to chair the Centennial Communication Committee—taking this on after years of service on the Board and Executive Committee.

Cindi’s longest serving position was chair of the Chesed Committee. This group exists to comfort and assist our congregants at their most vulnerable times. She was presented with the President’s Award in 2012 for those efforts.  

Photo: Ciindi Viviano

11. Hayim Weiss

It is hard to think of a synagogue function in which Hayim Weiss is not involved. It is even difficult to remember a time before Hayim and his wife, both so integral to CBS. Hayim joined CBS in 1996.

He was first elected to the Board of Directors in 2001, serving 18 years in one capacity or another. In eight years on the Executive Committee he was VP of Communications, VP of Programming, Public Relations & Marketing, VP of Administration, and VP of Membership. 

It is Hayim’s involvement in so many synagogue committees that keeps him at the heart of this community. He’s served on the Keruv Initiative for Interfaith Conversations, Religious Life, Membership, Men’s Club Board, Marketing, and Kitchen Klub Committees. Hayim is the Head Mashgiach…responsible for making sure our kitchen meets all the requirements of our V’aad Hakashruth. Hayim’s most significant contributions have been his enduring commitments as editor of Kol Shalom (our primary vehicle for communicating with our members) and Chair of the High Holy Days Committee. We are all able to welcome the new Jewish Year in organized and interactive ways because of the work of Hayim and his team of volunteers. High Holy Days 2022 is Hayim’s 16th consecutive year as chair. 

Photo: Hayim Weiss

12. Diane Wolf

Diane Wolf is known for her leadership skills, but to an even larger degree, her ability to recruit and inspire other leaders. She chaired at least four board nominating committees, amid multiple other committee chairmanships, and a term as President of the Congregation.

She and Lew joined CBS almost 24 years ago, showing up at Rabbi Dan Satlow’s interview weekend. They apparently liked what they saw. They enjoyed the Shabbat hospitality, and gentle membership persuasion from Dina and Alan Lipschultz.

Diane joined the board of directors in 2002, eventually serving as president. After her presidency, she returned to Executive Committee several times when CBS leaders called on her.

Over multiple years she was chair of the Adult Education, Chesed (kindness), and Religious Life Committees. She is an ardent supporter and frequent attendee at morning minyan and fondly remembers her experience as an adult b’nei mtzvah at CBS.

As a professional librarian, Diane has, almost single-handedly, reconstituted our CBS Library and enjoys the role of Chief Archivist (There are no other archivists). In that role, you will see that Diane is a consultant to every committee working on this Centennial Celebration. She is an indispensable resource, and an even better person.

Photo: Diane Wolf

Photo Credit: Elisa Komins Morris

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784