Ambassador Ron Dermer – Monday, October 22, 2018
From the Rabbi David Lyon
Rabbi Samuel E. Karff is a leader among us. His reputation as a seminal rabbi in the Reform movement follows him to this day. His legacy at Beth Israel is without qualification and unparalleled. The privilege to be connected to Rabbi Karff’s name lends honor to those who receive the Rabbi Samuel E. Karff Leadership Award, which Congregation Beth Israel bestows on significant leaders every two years. This Shabbat, Karen and Joe Chesnick, Jr., and Roslyn and Ricky Haikin will receive the award. Their unique leadership in our congregation makes them obvious choices to be added to the list of those who have been similarly identified as Karff Leadership honorees.
Karen and Joe are among the kindest and hardest working members of Beth Israel. Karen has significantly added to the substance and joy of many committees, including membership and religious school, and Sisterhood. When Hurricane Katrina brought hundreds to Beth Israel from Touro Synagogue in New Orleans, Karen and Joe exemplified the congregation’s spirit with generous help. Touro’s rabbi at the time remembers Karen and Joe’s call to him as his family moved into a temporary apartment in Houston. Karen and Joe asked them what style furniture they preferred. The rabbi was astounded; he was grateful just to have any furniture, but Karen and Joe wanted them to feel at home. When Beth Israel began its 160th anniversary, Joe stepped up to co-chair the 160th committee with Roslyn Haikin. Joe masterfully coordinated the business side of the project of commissioning the “People’s Torah” from which we read every Shabbat. But, all this came years after Joe’s stellar service on our Board of Trustees and years as Treasurer and President. Leadership runs in Karen and Joe’s family; Karen’s parents, Yvonne and Arnold Miller, served as great role models of leadership in their synagogue in Waco, Texas, and for all of us at Greene Family Camp. Joe’s parents, Joyce and Joe, Sr., have served in the business community and Joyce ably led cemetery construction and served as President of Beth Israel’s Board. Joe and Karen’s blessings are especially extended to their children and grandchildren, for whom they have unconditional love. We are so grateful to Karen and Joe for their leadership and overjoyed to bind their names to our beloved Rabbi Samuel E. Karff.
Roslyn and Ricky Haikin are remarkably able leaders and friends among us. Across the campus, Congregation Beth Israel and Shlenker School have benefited from their hands and their hearts. Ricky served as President of the Shlenker School Board and also as a Trustee of the Beth Israel Board, in addition to many roles when he was called. His can-do attitude and willingness to provide insight and advice have made him an invaluable part of our congregation’s stellar reputation. Roslyn has left nothing undone in her time at Shlenker School and on Beth Israel’s Board and Executive Committee. From creative decorations for seemingly every event on campus to endless energy to undertake tasks of enormous proportions, Roslyn has made an indelible impression on all of us. Her master lessons on Torah for families and individuals who lent their hands to scribe the “People’s Torah” have become legendary and a permanent part of Beth Israel’s 160th anniversary experience. Roslyn and Ricky’s parents also led them by example. Mike Haikin, of blessed memory, whom I remember well, was a man of strength who inspired others who followed after him. Roslyn’s parents, Bernie and Sally Fuchs, continue to stand by their daughter and by all of us with boundless courage and determination. Roslyn and Ricky are proud of their children and grandparents whom they adore and enjoy watching grow and learn at Shlenker School. There is nothing the entire family wouldn’t do for the well-being and continued strength of Congregation Beth Israel. We are so grateful to Roslyn and Ricky for their leadership and overjoyed to bind their names to our beloved Rabbi Samuel E. Karff.
Let May 13, 2016, forever be noted for the beauty of the Sabbath and its blessings when we honor Karen and Joe Chesnick, Jr., and Roslyn and Ricky Haikin with the Rabbi Samuel E. Karff Leadership award. May they and their families go from strength to strength. May all of us at Congregation Beth Israel thrive on the blessings of our honorees for years to come. With deepest gratitude and thanks to all who make Beth Israel our spiritual home and center of Jewish life, Shabbat Shalom.
Worship Services will begin in the Sanctuary at 6:30pm. Attend live or Livestream on the internet at www.beth-israel.org and click the green box.