The Community Dinner was a lovely event held on December 3, 2016. The theme for the evening was Now More Than Ever. It was co-sponsored by the Finance Committee and Social Affairs, led by Azar Gordon. Finance Chair, Esther Sandrof, presented an amusing slide show inspiring us to renew our commitment to the Society, and a number of people gave testimonials about the role of Ethical Culture in their lives.
I presented the Top 10 Reasons I Love Being President of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County. Here they are:
10) Last spring, I got to be almost the first to know that raccoons had busted through the ceiling tiles and were playing in the lobby.
9) As presider at the first Sunday of the month, I have a microphone, and I get to say whatever I want.
8) I get to look smart because Linda Bennett gives me all the answers.
7) I get to meet the Teaneck tax assessor…in person.
6) I get to sign lots of checks. This is a thrill, there’s always a big stack of them.
5) I get a chance to see, up close, Bob Gordon’s brain working like a hamster in a maze, problem-solving every little thing to maximize the building’s potential.
4) This one is very humbling. In a time of crisis for our Leader when his dear wife passed away, I got the privilege of helping to bridge the gap for five months trying to make sure both our Leader, Joe Chuman, and the Ethical Culture Society were well served. It turned out to be an unintended honor.
3) As president, I get to lead a little, like helping with the “Being White and its Hidden Assumptions” workshops.
2) Either first hand, second or third, I get to hear many accounts of what we’re doing not quite right and in how many ways we fall short of expectations. It keeps me in-the-know and on my toes.
1) I get to serve an organization whose values I can believe in; to promote reason, support compassion and fight hate. Now more than ever.
Following a magical dinner, we had a problem. The door to the basement would not open, the doorknob lock was broken. With Sunday School the next morning and Aimee Kass’s car keys locked in downstairs, we had to do something. Here is a photo of Peter Kelley and Bob Gordon getting the door open by knocking out the hinge pins. So, opening the door by taking it off the hinges became the best temporary solution. It also became a living example of my number 5 reason that I love being president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.
This little rescue was dramatic and visual. However, there are so many more contributions that our members make, some in quiet, subtle and unheralded ways. This year, I look forward to spotlighting the dedication of so many. From working personally with refugees, to stuffing envelopes, from leading groups against gun violence, to staying late after events to vacuum the floor, from keeping meticulous records for the Scrip program to being bus captains for climate marches, from making coffee to chaperoning Youth Group trips, from running a Halloween Party for the kids to checking that the windows are closed, it can be exhausting keeping up the dedication, especially when it does not seem to be noticed or acknowledged. Our organization must get better at this, after all we are a band of volunteers and every effort counts. In this new year of 2017 I want to thank each and every one of you for past participation in Ethical Culture, and I call on you to continue. Truly, we need each other.
Now more than ever.