26 April 2012

CBE Among 40 Finalists in Amex/Partners in Preservation Program

Thursday April 26, 2012

To All Members of the CBE Community and Our Friends Around the World:

I write to you at an exciting and historic moment for our community.

I am thrilled -- nearly beyond words -- to announce that CBE has just been chosen to be among the 40 finalists in the American Express Partners in Preservation (PiP) program with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  We were chosen as one of 40 finalists among the hundreds of applicants from throughout the five boroughs and are the only Jewish institution chosen.  As part of the $3 million American Express will distribute, we have a chance to win up to $250,000 to restore our beautiful stained glass windows in the Main Sanctuary.  I couldn't think of a more honored and celebratory way to kick off our 150th anniversary as an open synagogue community serving Brooklyn!  

Today I had the privilege of standing with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum as the announcement was made, sharing in this special moment with the other finalists. They include our neighbors at the Brooklyn Public Library as well as the High Line, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Tenement House Museum--and many, many more.  This incredible act of generosity has inspired each of us to celebrate our good work together.  

There is a distinguished panel of civic leaders and preservation experts serving alongside Mayor Bloomberg as judges for the program and there is an international voting campaign, where you will be able to vote--once per day--for your favorite, beloved institution:  Congregation Beth Elohim!  Your daily votes and the assessment of the judges will be weighed together in choosing the contest winners.

A brief documentary film about CBE, made by American Express and featuring the many community programs of CBE along with the special relationship we share with our friends at Old First Reformed Church and Rev. Daniel Meeter can be found at www.cbebk.org/connects

I know CBE has so many friends around the world who will want to help us with this campaign. You can start by committing to vote for us every day at www.partnersinpreservation.com You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cbebk and see daily videos throughout the campaign.  Please remember to tell your family, friends and neighbors to do the same and share this link on the Facebook page as well.

To stay connected to CBE, make sure you’re on our email list for bi-weekly updates.  Sign up at www.cbebk.org/connects

By the way, to thank you for your participation, we’re raffling prizes of one year free membership to CBE and an iPad to those who vote in person at CBE or tag the CBE Facebook page in your status update.

On Sunday May 6, as part of the PiP contest, we will host an Open House from 2-5 pm called CBE Connects, where we will premier another commissioned work by noted architects Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan, called “Jacob’s Ladder by BanG,” who designed our eye-popping sukkah last fall and won the 2010 Sukkah City contest in Union Square.  CBE Connects will feature musical performances from the Brooklyn Community Chorus, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, the Spirit Family Reunion, the Brooklyn Art Song Society, Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus, Pitom, Yellow Sneaker, Doll Shot, and many, many more.  It will be an inspiring celebration of Brooklyn's rich musical tradition worthy of one of the narratives depicted in the stained glass--Jacob's Ladder, a divine dream moment where the unexpected takes us to new places.

So with gratitude to the selection committee of Partners in Preservation for this wonderful opportunity, to our many volunteers who have prepared us for the wild ride in our media campaign, and to each of you who will vote for us, I close with the apocryphal and noted words of the late Mayor Daley of Chicago:  Vote early and vote often!

Rabbi Andy Bachman

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