Minutes of May 15, 2002 meeting, Temple Beth Emet, Cooper City
In attendance: Heidi Estrin (Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton); Sandy Hirschhorn (Jewish Genealogy On-Line Mall); Etta D. Gold (Temple Beth Am, Miami); Jackie Fine (Greenfield Day School, Miami); Wendy Grant; Beatrice Citron; Phyllis Gutmann (Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Boca Raton); Lillian Beer (Beth David, Miami); Robin Coller (Gordon Day School, Miami); Andrea Kalish (Hillel Community Day School, Miami); Lee Wixman (AJL Newsletter); Charles Meyers (Temple Emanu-El, Palm Beach); Walter Speilman (Temple Anshe Shalom); Shirley Wolfe (CAJE, Miami and Temple Beth Emet).
Host Shirley Wolfe welcomed us and gave a brief history of the congregation and the direction it is headed. The building is less than a year old and is quite beautiful. Beth Emet recently re-located to this Flamingo Road site and grew from a couple hundred families to approximately one thousand.
President Heidi Estrin began the meeting with the announcement that Muriel Efron is continuing to work on the project of sending children's books (in English) to a JCC in Odessa, Russia. Anyone with appropriate material should contact Muriel at email@example.com.
Meeting dates and possible hosts for next year were discussed. Etta Gold, Andrea Kalish, Phyllis Gutmann, and Walter Speilman volunteered their institutions. A short discussion ensued regarding the day of the week to meet. Several people spoke in behalf of scheduling the meetings to occur always on the same day. Phyllis and Andrea believe that the same day works better for those in day school settings, while Lee stated that alternating days are best. We voted to continue our current mode of alternating days for now.
Topics for next year: Kathleen suggested having author Barbara Udell of Boca Raton speak to us about her book on Spirituality and Jewish women; Charles suggested programs on The Media And Israel and Jewish parenting; Etta recommended presenting workshops about our own successes, where we would invite people from the community to attend in order to publicize our organization.
Heidi was our speaker and presented a preview of her upcoming Convention presentation "Is the Rainbow Fish Jewish? Secular Picture Books that Reinforce Jewish Concepts and Values." Why not use Jewish books to begin with? We live in a secular community; mainstream culture is all pervasive. Additionally, secular books are generally less didactic and thus have more kid appeal. Since Jewish values can be found all over - Judaism is a way of looking at the world - one need only look for mitzvoth in stories. It's a good idea to translate values from the Hebrew into English and then do a search. When one asks children how to be nice, they generally come up with a list of "don't"s. It's more important to give them a list of "do"s. In The Rainbow Fish, the fish learns to be generous, for example.
Another suggestion for ferreting out positive values in stories is to have children award a Mitzvah Medal to characters in the stories they're read. Some good resources for locating values can be found in Jewish Every Day by Maxine Segal Handelman. Additional sources are listed in 2 handouts.
For the "Swap and Share" segment of our meeting, we discussed ways in which to promote your library. Don't talk about what you've got, but why the library is important. Have a packet about the library included in give-aways to new employees and/or members. Much of our discussion re-focused on what to do with existing libraries that are now in a state of disrepair. Bea asked advice for how to proceed with a neglected library where the powers-that-be believe that the library is passé. Shirley suggested delivering a sermon, as she does monthly, about books is productive. It was suggested that we present something about libraries to a PAC (Judaic Principals) meeting at CAJE. We (our chapter) need to design a presentation, as there is much mis-information. Lillian Beer says she has a different problem, one that pertains to adults rather than children. She wants to know how to promote her library to adults.
The meeting was adjourned at about 2:30 and we toured the facility, which is still under construction.