Joella West, President

Joella West, President


Our President's Message...


september 20, 2019

Dear Members and Friends,

It’s time to talk about Membership in our Mountain Family! Somehow, each year I’m surprised when we reach that moment. Another whole year has passed? Where did that time go, and what did we do with it?

Did we pray sometimes? In addition to the High Holidays and Pesach, we’ve had Friday night Shabbat services as part of our Rabbi Weekends, and recently enough people have attended that we have been able to have a Torah reading. For those of you who were (or are) members of larger congregations in other communities, that may seem pretty standard, but for Har Mishpacha it’s pretty remarkable, and we’re working to try to make this the new normal (hint, hint—you can help with that!). And Shakrit has continued every Thursday morning.

Did we rejoice together? We celebrated two B’nai Mitzvot this year, and we have a Bar Mitzvah on the calendar for 2020. Pretty special for us!

Did we mourn together? Sadly, two memorial services—one for Pittsburgh and one for Poway.

Have we learned together? Rabbi Scott Segal has led us in Torah study, in learning sessions and discussions. Professor Sacks was here again in August for two provocative talks. And our Religious School has continued offering Jewish education to our children.

The first round of our search for a resident rabbi ended without success, but the Search Committee will be gearing up to restart the process this Fall.

What else is in store for the coming year?

I’m so glad you asked. More of the same, but we’re aiming for more than that: We have three goals: (1) a Rabbi Weekend with Rabbi Segal once each month, (2) a part-time social director to plan and organize increased social activities, and (3) a permanent plan to provide security.

We believe that these are important things that need to be accomplished this year, but they come with a significant cost ($22,500) which cannot be covered by our membership dues. While it is part of our mission to keep our dues at a level that is affordable for the greatest number of people, we also understand that some members may be able to help us with additional contributions. Accordingly, I am appealing to those who can do so to contribute a minimum of $1,500 to a new Sustaining Fund which will be dedicated to cover these three expenses for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The Fund is listed in the Additional Contributions section of your renewal form. If you would like to have a conversation about this, please reach out to me any time.

So here we are, about to begin the new year 5780. Let’s make it a sweet year for all.


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