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From the President


From the President

John N. Louie

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John Louie grew up in Southern California, where his parents had been Israeli folk dancing since 1962. He started Israeli dancing 32 years ago while working on his PhD at Caltech's Seismo Lab. He married Neva Donovan 30 years ago; she is a family physician. Recruited to the University of Nevada, Reno in 1992, John teaches geophysics at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, doing research in energy exploration and earthquake hazards. John and Neva began attending Sinai services in 1999, with both of their children Anna and Ben becoming B'nei Mitzvah at Sinai. First joining the Sinai Board in 2001 as Secretary, John subsequently converted with Rabbi Soifer.


MOVING FORWARD - Important Updates

Written by // John N. Louie Categories // 2017 Posts

Greetings Temple Sinai Family!

Recently, I re-read the words of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah. “If there is no sustenance, there can be no Torah. But, if there is no Torah, there can be no sustenance.” At Temple Sinai, we are in a new fiscal year and approaching our High Holy Days, which means we are indeed focused on both sustenance and Torah.

Let’s step back for a moment and revisit our Vision and Mission:

Vision- Temple Sinai is an inclusive Jewish community that encourages members to fulfill their unique purpose in the world.

Mission- Temple Sinai is a community that learns, cares for one another, and promotes Jewish practice, culture and tikkun olam (healing the world).

Turning these aspirational statements into dynamic realities for Temple Sinai requires reaching outward and welcoming non-affiliated Jews, while also focusing inward and building strong relationships among our congregants. This requires a ‘value-proposition’ that compels membership and community. We are developing exciting, innovative programming, excellence in youth education, dynamic adult education and experiences, and caring and social action that exemplify our Jewish values and ethics.
In order to enable our growth and transformation, we recently formed the ‘Finance Advisory Council of Temple Sinai’- FACTS. This group is made up of three interconnected Sub-Groups depicted below:

FACTS Sub-Groups

Together, these groups are tasked with providing
for our “today”, while safeguarding our “tomorrow.”

1) Budget and Finance watches over our 2017-18 financials. Their recent financial review was quite informative:

      • Our inherited deficit from 2016-17 previously thought to be $30,000+ is, in fact, $7,318.
      • Many committees were budgeted insufficient funds and there was nothing allocated for our upcoming rabbinic search. With Board approval, this has been adjusted. The good news is we are financially able to support a full-time Rabbi. In fact, we cannot afford NOT to have a full-time Rabbi if we intend to attract and maintain Temple Sinai, our Reform Jewish home.

2) Philanthropy and Legacy is just beginning the Philanthropy Campaign, which will produce funds to augment our membership pledges and enable a sufficient operating budget while setting aside funds for our future.

      • We have received some generous, and much appreciated, 1-3 year pledges to begin our campaign.
      • We are preparing for legacy outreach - encouraging estate planning that includes Temple Sinai.

3) Grants is researching and preparing to submit grant proposals focused on Youth Education, Innovative and Inspiring Jewish Practice, and Adult Education.

      • We are identifying funding sources and initial prospects look promising.

Finally, our Board Executive Committee presented a Rabbinic Search Committee slate to our entire Board, with enthusiastic endorsement. Many congregants volunteered and many more were considered. It is a blessing that our congregation offered such overwhelming support.

Rabbinic Search Committee

      • Robert Dickens- Chair
      • Jeff Gingold
      • Suzy Klass
      • Russ Kotlicki
      • Paul Baker Prindle
      • Rina Schumer
      • Beth Slamowitz

As part of our search process there will be opportunities for congregants to meet the candidates. Your Rabbinic Search Committee, which is ultimately charged with selecting a qualified candidate, will welcome congregational input.

These are exciting, reinvigorating times for our Temple Sinai family. It is a blessing to be able to participate in them together.
Shabbat Shalom!
Lynda Goldman


With Gratitude

Written by // John N. Louie Categories // 2017 Posts

It is with a great deal of gratitude that I write this message. It is clear that everyone in our community cares deeply about the future of Temple Sinai, and that we all are doing everything we can to help our synagogue prosper and progress. We have a new Board, new committee chairs and committee members, and new volunteers who I need to thank for stepping up and taking on new roles and new challenges. I could not do this job without all of them. I am very grateful as well to last year’s leadership -- especially for the dedication of Past President Marilyn Rappaport. I need to add my personal thanks to the retiring leaders who Marilyn thanked in her last message: Nicole Appel, Ellen Lessinger, Pam Sloan, Nurit Stites, Doug Goodman and Rod Sloan.

I have also been lifted up by you, our loyal and caring members and friends. The big turnout at the congregational meeting was wonderful. I am grateful to all those who came to the front of the room and spoke. I heard great passion and concern for our Temple, and many ideas that we need to consider and test out. Please continue to express yourself by writing to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Another reason that I am grateful is the fantastic response to our appeal for membership renewal. Your annual pledges have been coming in very rapidly, and this is already lifting us toward better financial stability. Rabbi Bair and I have been speaking to members individually in our strategic philanthropy campaign. The response we have gotten is nothing short of amazing. All of our members count, no matter the size of your pledge. Rest assured, the Philanthropy committee will be speaking with each of you soon. I am very grateful to Rabbi Bair as well, for getting this effort going.

Thanks to Marilyn Roberts and the Jewish Practice committee, planning for our High Holy Day services is almost complete. It’s a little scary for me -- there is not much time left for me to consider all the things I need to atone for, and start making apologies. I will look forward to seeing all of you there, if not sooner.


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