President’s Message

joella                                                                         October 10, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Har Mishpacha,

I hesitate to begin the New Year letter by looking back, but it somehow seems appropriate to do so as we enter 5777.  We’ve taken some big steps: you have a new Board, a new President, a Long Range Plan, and an Educational Fund. Our Religious School has one new teacher, and the largest group of students in many years. We celebrated 2 wonderful Bat Mitzvahs, and honored Bert Halberstadt and Susan Handloff for their years of service. We welcomed some new members (please introduce yourselves to them at services), and we even tinkered a bit with the name of our congregation by adding a subtitle;  we’re  now  Har  Mishpacha, The  Jewish  Congregation  of Steamboat Springs.

Looking ahead: in the coming year, Rabbi Mark Goodman will be with us for 6 weekends in addition to the High Holidays. I think it’s fair to say that his increased presence here is by popular demand. You can anticipate Tot Shabbats, Home Shabbats, a community Sukkot celebration, our traditional Chanukah and Purim parties, the return of the Second Night Community Seder, and more. Please be sure to open your email Notices from Har Mishpacha (I promise they’ ll at least be worth a quick read!), and check our website ( for information and updates. Oh yes, be sure to follow us on Facebook  too.

Of course, all of this comes with a cost. The budget for this fiscal year is $31,790, an increase of 5% over last year. The Rabbi expense ($23,620) is the largest item (increased due to the addition of the sixth Rabbi weekend), followed by Religious School ($3,400 ), insurance ($1,525), and High Holidays ($1,070).

Most of our income is derived from two sources: annual dues and additional contributions. In order to meet our basic operational needs, the Board has voted to raise dues by 5 %: $210 for individuals, $420 for couples, and $630 for families. The remaining revenue must come from contributions; if it does not, the deficit will not be healthy or sustainable even for a nonprofit religious organization. So please consider rounding up when writing your membership check. Your contribution is important  in supporting the  many wonderful programs  we have planned for the year ahead.

Additional important contributions come in the form of volunteer services, which are essential to the work we do in our congregation and for the community of Steamboat Springs. Please give us whatever hours you can, to set up chairs, organize an Oneg, gather food for LiftUp…the list goes on. You’ll hear from me about various opportunities during the year, but if you have specific skills  and  interests,  please indicate on your Membership Application or contact us via

So, to borrow from an old phrase, if you like what you see, tell your Board, tell a friend, and renew your membership now. If you don’t like what you see, tell your Board about that, too. We’re only as good as our members make us.


Joella West, President , Har Mishpacha, The Jewish Congregation of Steamboat Springs

Our  Board Members: Joella West (;  Mark Berkley (; Sari  Davidson (; Michael Ehrlich (; Susan Handloff (; Alissa Merage (;   Dick Slavin (;   Bert Halberstadt  (president  emeritus) (