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President Fern Heinig's Message

Mon, May 30, 2016 (comments upon installation)

I have been asked the same question repeatedly over the last few weeks; “Are you excited about being President”. My answer has been the same, “excited is not the correct adjective”. What are the correct feelings – trepidation, uneasiness, overwhelmed, stressed?

When Nick Levitin asked me to be Executive Vice President 2½ years ago, my life, and Shomrei, was different.

My business was just starting and, though I had a couple of clients and intense periods of work, there was more free time than work time. Andy Silver and I were also leading Shomrei 20/20, which was filling my free time (as well as MESH, golf, wine tasting and friends). My business life has gotten crazier, with clients on several continents (no apologies for being successful), and when I am home, catching up on my personal life – including Shomrei business – takes any free time I have. What a difference two years can make.

Shomrei is in a whole different place. We are in our second year of the Sustaining Share membership model. Financially we have for, the first time, achieved a financial year of not being negative vs the budget. The Pre School is growing and zero balance for the first time in years. We have new members, from the Pre School community and the greater Montclair area community, who are engaged and involved. And we are about to embark on a major initiative – the transformation of the JLC – which includes an experiential and individualized curriculum and having a Shabbat schedule instead of Sunday.

Following in Nick’s shoes will be difficult. Nick has been President Extraordinaire. He has given his complete focus to Shomrei and her members over the last two years. He has been present every day to members and staff. He has been the “face” of Shomrei. I am replacing him but not filling his shoes. On behalf of Shomrei, a huge THANK YOU for everything you have done for Shomrei over the last two years.

I have no idea what my legacy will be. I do promise that Shomrei is very important in my life, and I will do my best to continue the wonderful things that are happening. Shomrei is evolving and I want to ensure the process continues and excels. I never make a promise I can not keep.

Fern Heinig