Rob Obler, President
A Message From NJC's New President
I am extremely honored and proud to be Naples Jewish Congregation’s new president. At the same time, I am nervous to follow in the giant footsteps of Steve McCloskey. He steered us through two crises that were once in a lifetime occurrences, Hurricane Irma and the ongoing pandemic. Under his leadership, we showed who NJC is and how we are not just a congregation, but a family. We pride ourselves on being the small congregation with a big heart. The way we reached out this past year to all members with the innovative use of Zoom and YouTube by Steve and Dick Lechtner ensured that their quarantines at home were not lonely.
Our Rabbi, Howard Herman, conducted Friday night services starting within three weeks of the lockdown. We had Jane Galler and Alla Gorelik supplying music while various members participated from their homes, with song, candle lighting and other aliyahs. This and many other programs on Zoom, with active participation by our members, kept us connected.
One of the most recent innovative ideas was the Genizah ceremony we held a few weeks ago. A few years back, we obtained newer and more inclusive High Holiday prayer books. We were unable to find a proper way to retire the old books. They were too old for another congregation and no Jewish cemetery was willing to take that many books. So Rabbi Herman, along with our ritual chairs, Barry Goldenberg and Charles Flum, developed a Genizah ceremony. A Genizah ceremony is for the proper burial of sacred books. It was a once in a lifetime experience with a beautiful service and wonderful music from our Cantorial Soloist, Jane Galler. I believe this ceremony was unique to Naples and all of Florida.
President, Naples Jewish Congregation