From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

I have just returned from the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), where 1,800 professionals and lay leaders met to discuss some of the critical issues facing our Jewish communities, locally and worldwide. I learned how people think about some of the significant issues facing us, whether we live in a smaller community, like the Berkshires, or a larger one. It was inspiring to meet with committed leaders from so many places.

One of the issues that resonated with me was about engaging younger families in a more meaningful way. According to the most recent Pew study, 71% of marriages in the past ten years that involve at least one Jewish person have been between Jews and non-Jews. In addition, couples are more diverse in other ways. Many of us who serve in synagogue leadership are not young parents. We need to understand what young parents seek and bring more young parents into leadership roles.

We know many young families want to bring Judaism into their lives differently than the previous generations. We need to understand what will meet their needs and develop programs to meet them where they are. We need to welcome young families and connect meaningfully with them so that they feel a sense of belonging.

With this in mind, we invite young parents to meet with us to discuss what they’re looking for and how CBI can meet their needs. We plan to build on the programming we are already doing and create new programming specifically for our young family community. Please let me know if you are interested in joining these discussions. Our young families are our lifeblood and future, and I am deeply committed to this work.

Please join us at our Annual Meeting next Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30pm via Zoom, where we will review the past year and vote in a new slate of officers and directors. This year’s Annual Report and the Board slate are available to view here.

— Natalie Matus