President, David Kaufman

Dear Fellow Congregants:

First, let me introduce myself—I am David Kaufman, and I have the honor of serving as your Temple president for the next two years. As you know, Brian Mendelson is relocating to South Carolina for a new job and as president-elect, I am stepping up earlier than anticipated. I know you join me in wishing Brian all the best in his new position, and of course, for his many contributions and the leadership he provided to the Board of Trustees and to this Congregation over the past very eventful year.  Brian, may the mezuzah for the doorpost of your new home that we gave you at the Annual Meeting remind you will always have a home at Congregation Ahavath Chesed.

For many of you, I may be a familiar face but we may not have had a chance to get better acquainted—I hope we can change that! My wife, Sherry and I have been Temple members for more than twenty years and are regular worshippers at Friday night services.  Our children, Zachary, Lauren and Hillary, all attended TIR and were called to the Torah as they became B’nai Mitzvah and Confirmands at Temple.  Zachary was recently married by Lani Derby (former TIR Educator) and Lauren was recently married by Rabbi Cohen. Rabbi Bahar will marry Hillary and her beloved, Zach, on Memorial Day weekend.  I have been on the Board of Trustees for ten years and on the Executive Board for eight years.  Professionally, I am the Senior Director of Planning and Commercial Development for the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT).

We have an exciting year ahead of us!  Under Brian’s leadership, we successfully navigated the Rabbinic Search process and are particularly delighted to have Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar as our Senior Rabbi.  She enthusiastically greets every single day as an opportunity to make our Temple even more special, and I am grateful to so many who have stepped up to embrace her.  Your Board of Directors and the Transition Committee are actively engaged with Rabbi Bahar to ensure that she remains focused on the issues we, as a congregation, identified as most important: pastoral care, music, education and youth.  I would also like to thank our Executive Director, Goldie Lansky, for her tireless efforts to keep us focused and moving forward as a congregation throughout the transition process.

From the Board’s perspective, you can be assured that there will be a strong focus on improving communication with you, our congregation and most precious resource.  We will continue to bring you up to date, clear and timely information through our various communication tools, and will share in supporting Rabbi’s theme for the year: JOY in everything that we do.   

You will constantly hear from me that “we are better when we do things together.”  There is more work to do as we continue to build on the Community that we have: more programming, more worship and learning opportunities, more outreach, more maintenance and improvements to our facilities, and so on.  I invite each of you to engage more with your Temple and find new ways to connect. We need your ideas, assistance, hands on support and financial contributions to make it all happen. 

As we approach this New Year, remember, “we are better when we do things together.”

Thank YOU for your faith in the leadership of this Congregation.