As you may have seen March has proven to be a bittersweet month for our Temple staff. At the beginning of the month our Office Manager Erin Plank and her husband Josh welcomed their second child, Fiona Grace, who was born March 6, 2017 at 8 lbs 11 ozs and 19 inches long! I can’t tell you how excited we were for Erin, Josh, and big brother Nolan. Erin plans to remain on maternity leave until June 1st, and we wish the family well.
Shortly after this I received word that our Facilities Manager, Jacob Heilman, had lost his paternal grandfather. It was at the funeral for his grandfather that Jacob received word that his mother had just passed away in a tragic accident. Of course our hearts go out to Jacob and his family at this time. Some have asked where memorials can be sent, and we ask that all memorials please be directed to Rabbi Kaufman’s Discretionary Fund. We plan to make one large memorial gift to Jacob’s family on behalf of our congregation.
It was also in March that Shana Price started full time as she fills in for Erin while she is on maternity leave. Shana is originally from Houston, TX, moved to Iowa with her family and attended high school at Roosevelt High School. After high school Shana moved to Huntsville, AL, and has just recently moved back to Des Moines. Shana’s background is in human resources and we are happy to have her on our staff if only for a little while. As you know there have been several threats made to Jewish community centers across the United States, and though there has been no threats made to any Jewish facility in Iowa I can tell you that we are taking these threats very seriously. Recently I met with officials from the Office of Homeland Security and we reviewed our Emergency and Safety plans, which I will be revising and putting in our employee handbook. They also gave me some guidelines to follow so that our staff can be prepared for any emergency we may face here.
Our facilities staff will also be receiving First Responder training and be certified in CPR and First Aid. As you know, our facilities staff in addition to getting things set up for our services also serves as security. This training will help them identify any threats to our building and congregation, and respond to any emergency situation we may face at the Temple.
I will continue work with our staff and Board to look at how we can both make our Temple a safe and secure place and still maintain a warm and welcoming environment for all.
Shalom, David Muenchrath