President’s Message

Charles Flum - President

In my last President’s message, I outlined several activities we have engaged in as a synagogue this past year. Our committees have also been very busy. Two committees I would highlight do not have the reports below.
The first is the Artist in Residence committee headed by Ron Radin. This was a very labor-intensive committee. Kudos to Ron and the others for bringing off the Listen Up! Concert without an apparent hitch.

The second is the seder committee headed my Jennie Elias Stein. Again, a labor-intensive committee. During and after the seder I heard many people exclaim how wonderful it was. Kudos to Jennie and her team for a wonderful evening.

Below are several reports concerning what several committees have done in the past year. Though we may be a small congregation, we certainly do a lot!


We had a very active Social Action Committee (SAC) this fiscal year. All of our SAC members, Rabbi Herman, Robin Egdish, Suzanne Paley, Roberta Obler, Rob Obler, Shelley McCloskey, Gusti Rosenauer, Bonnie Lechtner, Dick Lechtner and Irene Pomerantz transformed good ideas and hard work into social action during this time when NJC’s theme for the year was Tikun Olam, repairing our world one deed of Iovingkindness at a time.

Robin Egdish brought to the SAC and spearheaded our backpacks for foster kid’s project. This ongoing project has been amazingly successful due to the efforts of Robin and Len Egdish, their buyers and backpack packers and the generosity of our members. So far, over 60 backpacks (at $50/backpack) have been provided to foster kids in the greater Naples area.

At our High Holy Days food drive, we collected almost 60 bags of food which were delivered to the Baker Naples Senior Center the day after Yom Kippur. In October, several of our members participated in an Empty Bowls Naples (EBN) private painting party that raised about $400 to support its mission to help the food insecurity in the greater Naples area.

In November, we collected used eyeglasses and cases from our members and donated over 60 sets of eyeglasses and cases to the Bonita Springs Lions Club. In December and January, we collected items and donated items worth about $400 to the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children.

In February, we collected and delivered 35 bags of gently used clothing to the Lions Club Thrift Shop to benefit mostly the residents of the less advantaged neighborhoods in the Bonita Springs area. In March, our NJC election team, ably led by Robert (“Rob”) Obler staffed a Collier County precinct under the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Adopt-A-Precinct Program. Our election team will staff the same precinct for the primary in August and the general election in November. This invaluable experience of actively participating in the democratic process is also a fundraiser for NJC.

Rabbi Herman and I are active members of the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida (IASWFL), an interfaith group devoted to protecting democracy through advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups, participation in local school boards and governments and safeguarding our precious right to vote. The IASWFL also believes in keeping faith separate from politics and government and protecting all of us from religious and political extremists, such as the danger of Christian nationalism.

Steve McCloskey, Chairman


Nine new members since the 2023 High Holidays: Ina Resnikov, Bruce & Marlee Cohen, Ellen Frankel, Sara Rockler, Amy and Alexander Zusmanovich, Teri Saltzman and Lisa Lapuck. New membership has not kept pace with the loss of members.

We are utilizing social media and there is personal follow up by phone with inquiries and visitors. It seems as though our current members are our best resource.

Once the new membership occurs, integration is relatively easy due to the friendliness of the Congregation and the wealth of activities. The Rabbi is a great asset as he is immediately friendly and welcoming as well.

We held a new member social event this year that helped to bring in new members. That event and continued publicity should be repeated.

Shelley McCloskey, Chair, Membership Committee 


We started the process to build a new website in October with design choices, build up, content creation, image selection and formatting, changing domain, publishing, going live at the beginning of January, promoting and maintaining, we now have a new interactive, informative, attractive and engaging site. The site is the core of an invigorated presence on social media with a growing online interaction of 60 engagements (website clicks, calls, direction requests) in the month of October to 153 in March. In April, we started broadening and increasing the presence on social media.  including a Facebook profile, a Facebook Group, an active Google business profile and a presence on Instagram. We have become active and recognized posters on the Facebook Groups Jewish in Southwest Florida (661 members) and Jewish in South Florida (15,000 members). We are still working on building more interactive engagement among the members of our Group, while keeping privacy and a secure online environment.   

Marcela Katz Guggenheim , PhD. 

Ritual Committee Report – April 

The committee welcomed Sarilye Atlas who will work on honors with me. We will begin working on High Holidays as soon as Rabbi sends the services. Soren will continue to place the Memorial plaques on the Memorial Board with Charles as back-up.

Music Committee April 

Rabbi, Alla, Jane and I will have a meeting April 29 to prepare for the first meeting of the Music Committee. We will work on the following goals.

  1. Learning from both Alla and Jane about their goals for music with the services
  2. Learn from Rabbi his thoughts about the role of music in the services.
  3. Music to be related to the subject of the sermon.
  4. A balance of traditional, modern, Chassidic, folksy and other types of music
  5. Songs with which the Congregation is familiar so that they can sing along and not feel like they are at a concert. Fewer changes
  6. Having words that we sing match the prayer book or song sheets supplied.

Goals from the choir

  1. No changes in music after the last rehearsal
  2. Music for each song which is in the order that we sing it
  3. Warm cooperative atmosphere

We need a Board member to buy and set up the printer for Alla so that music can be easily supplied to both choir and congregation.

Gusti Rosenauer, Chair

Do you see a committee that interests you? Call the chairperson and volunteer. We can always use more helping hands.