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After a very long and harsh winter, it’s time to get outside, prepare for Passover and take advantage of all the wonderful events that Temple has to offer. As I start to wind down my role as President, I can’t help but reminisce on what our Board has accomplished over the past two years.

At the beginning of my term, the Board was very engaged in a variety of strategic planning initiatives that included reducing the number of Board members to a manageable level, revising our mission and vision statements, re-energizing our volunteers and revising our By-Laws to reflect Vision Leaders and Vision Teams. Through the entire process, a sense of accomplishment has been seen on a variety of levels. Vision Leaders empowering themselves to make changes to policies and streamlining processes. Congregants volunteering as Shabbat greeters and other roles.

Together, we shared many wonderful events and programs that Rabbi, our staff, the Board and volunteers have worked hard to orchestrate such as Family Shabbats, Passover Seder, Movie Nights, Habitat for Humanity projects, Chanukah Happenings, High Holidays, Havdalah-Ween, Youth Group outings and Sisterhood events. All the efforts of Rabbi Kaufman and others who tirelessly organize and coordinate the educational programming that challenge us to think openly about a multitude of topics. No matter your age, Temple is a place for us to connect in many ways.

We’ve dedicated two new spaces on the Temple property that we can be very proud of. Located on the northern edge of our property is a memorial to remember the 1985 ISU women’s cross-country team plane that crashed across the street from Temple over 30 years ago. Our most recent dedication took place just a few weeks ago. The new Temple chapel is now officially open and will become a new and exciting addition to the Mannheimer Wing.

Our president-elect of Temple is Bill Grund who is preparing to begin his role as president in June. Bill recently returned from The Scheidt Seminar, a 4-day session open to URJ congregational presidents and presidents-elect. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn and network with the leadership of the Reform Movement, discuss solutions to everyday congregational problems and improve leadership skills. Bill has been a part of Temple for many years and is well-prepared to take on this important responsibility. I know Bill will do an amazing job in leading us to new heights.

And lastly, I’m very excited to tell you about our next big fundraising event taking place on Saturday, May 18th. In addition to raising money for the Temple General Fund, it’s also a time for us to come together as a congregation and to socialize and have a wonderful time together. The event will take place at Albaugh’s Corporate Headquarters in Ankeny. One of our very own congregants, Stuart Feldstein, who works at Albaugh, graciously donated the space for us to use. One of the fun attractions of the space is a car barn that houses a long list of vintage cars that will be open for you to view. It’s an amazing exhibit you won’t want to miss! There will also be a silent auction featuring a list of items to bid. The event will be catered by Christiani’s, a premier caterer here in Des Moines. For your entertainment, a 4-piece quartet will be playing a variety of music including jazz, classical and current tunes. Toward the end of the evening, we will be unveiling our new Temple logo! I hope you will save the date and look forward to seeing you there! You’ll be receiving an invitation in the mail very soon.

These past two years have been an amazing experience for me as president of Temple. I want to thank each and every one of you who have supported me. A special thank you to Rabbi Kaufman, our wonderful Temple staff; David Muenchrath, Erin Plank, Wendy Beckerman and Charles Stanton, the entire Board, all of our volunteers and vision teams. It’s been a privilege and honor to serve Temple B’nai Jeshurun.

Alan Adato