VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT CBSRZ
We hope the following descriptions will inspire you to become more involved with all that is going on at CBSRZ. But if you don’t see something here that grabs your passion, be in touch with us about starting a project. We are all about opening different paths for congregants to seek inspiration, community, spirit, learning, comfort and joy by tapping both our heritage and innovation. That’s why this place is described as “ancient and cool.”
If you are interested in becoming more involved with our special place, feel free to contact the committee chairs via the emails included here.
ARTS, CULTURE & ENRICHMENT COMMITTEE (ACE)
CHAIRPERSON: Ellen Nodelman
Meetings are held monthly at times that are convenient for its members. The Committee’s mission is to foster adult learning about the Jewish experience, past and present, including: Israel, Jewish culture, history, religion and current issues important to the Jewish community. The committee gathers, initiates and acts as a clearinghouse for ideas and suggestions coming from members of the congregation, our standing committees, and our spiritual leaders.
Current programs are Adult Hebrew, Lunch and Learn, Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the Kutnick Scholar in Residence program, an Introduction to Judaism series, Mussar, the Yiddish Club and programs (both presentations and roundtables), often with outside speakers, on current issues. Upcoming programs include our new series, Noshing Our Way Through Jewish History, an interactive exploration of Jewish history, culture and cuisine. Activities such as field trips, adult retreats, book clubs and lectures are being discussed. The committee welcomes anyone who wishes to be a part of this endeavor.
B’YACHAD: COUNCIL OF COMMITTEES
CHAIRPERSON: Jeffrey Burzin
B’Yachad—which means ‘together’—meets quarterly. This committee is made up of most of the current CBSRZ committee chairs. Its function is to provide a forum to discuss ways that committee activities can overlap and be integrated. Opportunities for collaboration are discussed and plans for implementing these opportunities are developed.
CBSRZ CEMETERY ASSOCIATION
CHAIRPERSON: Henry Resnikoff
The CBSRZ Cemetery Association is in charge of maintaining the congregation’s two cemeteries, Rodfe Zedek Cemetery in Moodus and a portion of Fountain Hill Cemetery in Deep River. Most recently the CBSRZ portion of the Fountain Hill Cemetery has been expanded and new construction has allowed for approximately an additional 200 cemetery plots.
COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION COMMITEE
The committee meets as needed. The Communication & Information Committee gets the word out to the community at large and within the CBSRZ family about the synagogue, its people, and its spiritual and programmatic opportunities. It is responsible for our website, newsletter (The Whole Megillah), news releases, the weekly email, and other related tools of communication.
The committee will continue focus on events in which the synagogue has a large financial stake, but also intensify efforts to help make every congregant, and potential congregant, feel connected to the CBSRZ family. This effort includes training each committee chair to recognize and pursue opportunities for public awareness.
There are approximately a thousand books in the children’s library, and about the same number in the adult library. They are not organized in any way at the present time. Our volunteer Librarian has started working on the children’s library, to eventually complete a catalogue of the books, and to have the books divided by holiday as well. Volunteers are needed and appreciated with this effort. It is our hope that the adult books will be catalogued in the coming year. The committee intends to select a library software program to continue this invaluable project.
CHAIRPERSON: Beth Brewer & Shelley Sprague
Meetings occur quarterly or as needed for specific events. The Chesed Committee provides pastoral care and support for our congregants. The committee assists with providing rides, making phone calls, sending cards, and helping with shiva arrangements for our congregants. It also distributes “Shabbat Bags” as needed and helps members at home access our live streaming services channel.
The committee’s mission is to work with the Caring Coordinator to develop the “Hinenei Corps,” a program that will provide support to older members of our community. The Committee needs lots of caring, creative volunteers to make this happen.
CHAIRPERSON: Kierstin Sieser
The Development Committee is charged with raising capital for current needs of the synagogue above and beyond the receipts from dues and donations. The committee also raises capital for the Congregation’s endowment program and for special projects. In conjunction with this, the committee has the mission of incubating a culture of giving, participation, volunteerism and community throughout the congregation.
CHAIRPERSON: Liz Jones
Members work alongside Principal Belinda Brennan and Rabbi Bellows in creating the best possible environment for our students and their families. Topics discussed at our meetings include creating the Kivvun calendar, organizing program-wide events, budget planning and anything else pertaining to youth programming. All congregants are welcome to attend our meetings and membership is not limited to parents of children enrolled in Kivvun.
The committee meets once every six to eight weeks on Sunday mornings. Please refer to the CBSRZ calendar for dates and times of meetings.
CHAIRPERSON: Erica Udoff
The committee meets monthly but most of the action takes place on a project basis between meetings. This committee is responsible for the maintenance of and enhancements to the physical building and grounds. Most recently, during the Covid pandemic, improvements have include the residing and reroofing of the entire building, adding gutters and downspouts and grant-funded security improvements, including additional lighting in the parking lot and new driveway lighting, bollards at the front entrance, 3M window protectant film and upgrades to the locking and front door access. The committee planned and has been managing the Syd & Bernie Slater Meditation Garden, as well as a major renovation to our Bima, which will be a welcome sight as we welcome members and visitors back into our sanctuary post-Covid. This committee is a good match for anyone who is interested in varied projects, learning and good company. No experience necessary.
There are many opportunities for volunteers on this committee and congregants are welcome and encouraged to help out, even if it is on an ad hoc basis.
CHAIRPERSON: David Fogel
There is no regular meeting schedule for this committee. We meet when formulating the budget and have special meetings during the year as needed. The goal of this committee each year is to formulate a budget, enlist the help of all committees in meeting the budget, and hopefully manage the invested funds in a safe and profitable manner.
CHAIRPERSON: Cindy & Phil Rischall
The Membership Committee usually meets Sundays at 9:30 am at CBSRZ every 6-8 weeks or when necessary in small groups working on specific projects and often by email. The main impetus of this committee is recruitment, orientation, and retention of members. With this in mind, the committee strives to nurture a culture of “Welcome”.
This past year the committee produced fresh “New Membership” and “Religious School” brochures. The committee is responsible for an online free member business directory for CBSRZ. A new “Greeter” program was also implemented.
Opportunities for new committee members include working on major events during the year (along with other committees) such as Shabbat Across America, The Women’s Seder, Books & Bagels, Music & More, ‘off-campus’ Shabbat, and the Blessing of New Members service.
MUSIC & MORE
Chairperson: David Zeleznik
Music & More plans, develops, and produces an eclectic winter performance series of music and outreach. Our performance season consists of approximately four concerts that start in January and extend through the annual CBSRZ community picnic in June. Planning for the next season begins during the Summer. Meetings are held on Sunday mornings based on need and member availability, more frequently as a concert approaches, but no more often than monthly. Volunteers work on planning, publicity, and staffing the performances.
Music & More is one of the biggest fundraisers for the congregation and brings in a large audience of non-members from the wider Connecticut shoreline community. Examples of past performances of note have been Sweet Honey In The Rock and The Paul Winter Consort.
NOMINATING & GOVERNANCE
CHAIRPERSON: Stephen Davis
The committee meets as needed and when agenda items require it. There are usually 4-5 meetings per year at CBSRZ at convenient times. There are also conference calls. The committee’s job is to nominate congregants for Officer and Board positions, as well as to keep the bylaws up to date and fit for purpose.
During the past year the committee facilitated a plan of succession for the officers of the Congregation. Every few years, through confidential interviews of current and immediate past Board members, the committee conducts an evaluation of the manner in which the Board is fulfilling its governance responsibilities. The Chair then shares conclusions with the President, Executive Committee and the Board.
CHAIRPERSON: Ed Pinn
The committee meets as needed. Outreach means going outside of our community, and that is what this committee tries to accomplish. The biggest achievement has been “Shabbat Across America”, which takes place in March each year. The Social Hall often is full to capacity for this event.
The committee also organizes the Shabbat Home Dinners program, which involves congregants in different communities hosting “off campus” dinners. The committee acts as liaison to other New Haven area synagogues and the Jewish Federation of New Haven. Volunteers are always needed for this committee’s events.
RITUALS & CELEBRATIONS COMMITTEE (Rit-C)
CHAIRPERSON: Rebecca Mozingo
The RAC meets the first Wednesday of the month at 8:45 am at CBSRZ. The committee just started “telephone” attendance and it is working well. The RAC is involved with all religious activities at the temple. In addition to ensuring that our Shabbat and other holiday worship services take place seamlessly, the RAC has worked hard at creating innovative ways to celebrate and will collaborate with the Rabbi’s Prayer Lab. The RAC completed the purchase of new white Torah mantles for the High Holiday observance.
RAC was an integral part in the development of live streaming of our Shabbat services on a YouTube channel, allowing congregants and non-members access to our services even if they can’t get to the synagogue. Volunteers are welcome to become ‘video producers’ to help operate equipment during services and to help those using this service to gain access.
This committee has been vital in assessing the security needs of the synagogue and making recommendations, along with state and local police. Most recently through a state-funded grant, and with the support of the Facilities committee, we were able to install and/or upgrade a number of physical security measures, as well as provide a variety of different training sessions to staff and key community leaders and members.
SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE
CHAIRPERSON: Izzi Greenberg
The committee meets quarterly from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, but SAC encourages all CBSRZ members to participate in social action projects even if they do not like/want to attend meetings.
The SAC attempts to provide an opportunity for congregants and others to incorporate tikkun olam into their lives and thereby helping the lives of others, through a large variety of activities which either provide direct service within and outside the community or to affect social policies which impact peoples’ lives. Projects have ranged from staffing meal sites and food, clothing and blood drives to hosting educational events and engaging in legislative advocacy on diverse topics, including prison reform, racial justice, anti-Semitism and other religious intolerance, gun control, and healthcare issues. The SAC and its members also serve on boards of various broader community education and advocacy organizations, including United Action of Connecticut and the Shoreline Basic Needs Task Force.
The committee’s priorities, which are reassessed each year, include basic needs (hunger and homelessness), health (mental health), prison reform, children’s rights, environmental issues, and embracing diversity. For more information, visit the Social Action Committee page on the website, and read the articles in The Whole Megillah.
This committee meets as needed. The committee’s function is to organize and provide activities for the youth of our congregation. Goals for the upcoming year are to have an active membership and participation, and encourage more involvement of our teens.