Committee  and Committee Chairs


Caring:                Sandy Teger

Concert:              Maria Hochschild

Development:     Peter Hochschild

Education:           Vickie Fuchs

Finance:              Peter Saltz

Governance:       Janice Block Chaddock

Membership:      Judy Adler, Caren Schoen

Program:             Alan Lessack

Publicity & Communications:

                            Tanya Hochschild, Sally Sacks

Ritual:                 Tanya Hochschild

Social Action:    Annette Pacyga, Garry Weiss

Technology:       Michael Samet

Tzedakah:          Vickie Fuchs

Venue & Security:
                           Howard Lorsch, Ed Greenberg


What's Happening with Bat Yam Committees


I have been asked to fill the role of Chair of the Caring Committee. I have been blessed with wonderful volunteers to help in this, including Elissa Karasin-Samet, Caren Schoen, Edina Lessack and Sally Sacks. This group exists to provide “virtual hugs” to those who may need them. We will identify those who may benefit from phone calls, funnel information to/from the Rabbi, and make ourselves available to talk or (in the future) visit. We would be happy to have others who would like to join us. Please email me at Sandy Teger Our other committee members and their emails are Elissa Karasin-Samet (, Caren Schoen (, Edina Lessack (, and Sally Sacks (

~ Sandy Teger


I am excited to be chairing the Concert Committee for next year’s performance. As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done, so I would be most grateful if anybody out there would like to be a part of this committee. Should you be interested in helping, kindly email me at With thanks.

~ Maria Hochschild



The Development Committee is focused on growing contributions to Bat Yam that will support both the mission and the purpose of the congregation.  Bat Yam’s mission is to provide a place of worship in the Jewish Reform tradition and to create a fully welcoming and extended Jewish family.  Bat Yam’s purpose is to foster the principles of Judaism and to help ensure the continuity of the Jewish people by worship, education, community service, and interfaith activities.  Any congregants with fundraising ideas or who would like to join the Development Committee effort are encouraged to contact Peter Hochschild at

                                                                                                                                  ~ Peter Hochschild



Thank you to adult education presenters for the 2019-2020 season! Our adult education season was amazing this year! We had fabulous presenters teaching us about a wide range of subjects.

In November we heard a report by Dr. Ellen Feingold entitled “Two Old Cases and One New Case of Infertility,” and Barry Fulmer taught us about Emma Lazarus. In December,
Dr. Parvis Sadighi taught us about the origins of the Muslim religion, and we were fascinated to learn what it was like for a Jewish person to grow up in a Muslim country.  Sid and Jane Picker taught us about Russian perspectives on Russia-U.S. relations.  In January, we learned from Alan Lessack about Ethiopian Jews fulfilling their dream of becoming Israelis, and Gil Mann taught us more about his book: Sex, God, Christmas, and Jews.  Lewis Schneider taught us about death, immortality, and resurrection in Judaism, and the last Saturday in January we practically had standing room only when Nir Cabaretti spoke to us. Thank you, Edina, for encouraging him to teach us!   

On a totally different subject, we learned about what DNA tells us about ancient migrations and interactions from Kay Sadighi. We had two wonderful sessions taught by Don Breiter and
Debbie Gurman about their search for relatives in Europe, particularly the Bassano family.
Dr. Mort Tavel taught us about health tips, tricks, and myths; and we asked lots of questions about snake oil! The first week in March, we were very lucky to have Rabbi Jim Rudin teach a class entitled “How Jews Invented Hollywood: An Empire of Their Own.” 

Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, as of March 11 all group services and classes were cancelled for the rest of the season.  We had some wonderful sessions lined up and hope people’s schedules will permit them to teach us next season.  Thank you again to our lay presenters, you enriched our lives so much!

If you have an idea for a class or if you’d like to teach a class next season, please contact Vickie Fuchs at

~ Vickie Fuchs


The Finance Committee recommends fiscal operation policies to the Board of Trustees. The committee also formulates a budget for the congregation for the ensuing fiscal year, which is presented, adopted and/or amended by the Board of Trustees, and later by the congregation members eligible to vote at the annual meeting.  The Finance Committee also submits to the Board of Trustees an annual audit of the congregation’s fiscal operations for the previous fiscal year.  The members of the Bat Yam Finance Committee are Peter Saltz (chair), Elissa Karasin-Samet (treasurer), Janice Block Chaddock, Sue Danford, Alan Lessack, Stan Levine, and Marty Packard.

                                                                                                                                  ~ Peter Saltz



The Governance Committee is responsible for reviewing the governance structures, policies, practices and procedures of the organization, including the bylaws, and reporting its findings and recommendations to the Board of Trustees.  The Governance Committee is also responsible for monitoring compliance with nonprofit laws and governance regulation and, accordingly, providing prudent and timely guidance to the Board.  Finally, the new Bat Yam Governance Committee will support and encourage opportunities for board development and committee leadership development. The members of the Governance Committee are Janice Block Chaddock (chair), Robyn Cook, Michael Samet, and Helane Smith.

                                                                                                                   ~ Janice Block Chaddock



The Membership Committee is eager to reach out to prospective members and invite them to join our special community. We would like to welcome newer members who may not have been given the opportunity to meet other members.


We have been updating our membership directory and in that regard are asking our members to please give us any new information such as cell phone numbers or email addresses that might have changed since the last directory was published. We would also like to include the months you plan to be on Sanibel for the calendar year 20/21. We recognize that our current pandemic is putting many of your plans in a state of flux; but thinking positively, we would like to include that information whenever possible.

If anyone knows of unaffiliated Jewish residents or snowbirds, please share their names and contact numbers with either of us: Judy at or Caren at

~ Judy Adler and Caren Schoen



The program committee is responsible for all special events and programs. These include speakers, scholars-in-residence, holiday programs, and other events. We invite anyone interested in joining the committee to contact me at

~ Alan Lessack



What news of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands would you like to see published in any of the Island newspapers? Or would you prefer seeing an eblast from the Chamber of Commerce, or an article in L’Chayim, The Jewish Federation’s newsletter? Perhaps all of the above and more?  Friedrich Jaeger, publisher of Times of the Islands, a high profile, award-winning publication, offered the services of his staff to review our monthly Bat Yam Matters newsletter and pull out items for his magazine.


So, read all about us in all of the above publications! For further information on deadlines, email Tanya Hochschild at

~ Tanya Hochschild and Sally Sacks



I am honored to be serving as the Ritual Committee Chair with a wonderful group of committee members: Ed Greenberg, Edina Lessack, Jocelyn Saltz and Alan Fisher.


One of our tasks is to invite members to enjoy honors during our High Holiday and Shabbat services. To that end, please let us know when you have a Simcha, or when family are visiting, so we can celebrate by offering you and your family honors on your special event. Even without a special occasion, we would appreciate your letting us know if you have a wish to participate in any of the available honors.


Rabbi Fuchs has further enhanced our Jewish year by appointing the Ritual Committee to prepare talks to be given on the evening we celebrate holidays such as Hanukkah, Tu B’Shvat, and Purim, so together we learn the origins, purpose and current relevance of the Jewish calendar.

~ Tanya Hochschild



Our Social Action Committee is highly engaged in helping the Immokalee farmworkers, F.I.S.H., and the Southwest Florida immigrant community during the COVID-19 crisis.  Committee co-chairs are Annette Pacyga and Garry Weiss, and committee members thus far include Bat Yam congregants Janice Block Chaddock, Alan Fisher, Beth Weiss, and local church congregants James Davis and Michael Miller. Rabbi Stephen Fuchs provides significant time and support to the Social Action Committee. Please contact Annette or Garry if you would like more information or to join us.


Congregants have asked Garry to publish links where they can donate or contribute in some way. has compiled a list of pandemic relief funds from around the country with local search capability: The specific relief fund for Southwest Florida is

~ Annette Pacyga and Garry Weiss



The Bat Yam we know and love today is not the Bat Yam that was started in 1991.  To be sure, neither is the state of the world, nor the challenges we face in running our congregation. To meet these challenges, we, like the rest of the world, need to rely on the newest, most powerful digital technologies.  


Over time, Bat Yam has increased its technological capabilities. As you know, we already make use of the audio and video projection system at SCUCC to enhance our Friday Shabbat service during the winter months. Our Rabbi, President and Board of Directors communicate with the members via the regular use of email.  Bat Yam, as an organization, communicates with the rest of the world via the Internet and its website,


Just a few short years ago, Bat Yam hardly used email, and our website was just a direct post of the newsletter. Nevertheless, those two pieces of technology were deemed sufficient to meet most of our internal and external communications needs.  


But today, both external events and internal growth and innovation require us to place greater reliance and emphasis on new digital technologies.  Our newest use of technology includes Zoom conferencing and Facebook Live for live Shabbat Welcome broadcasts and Zoom for Saturday morning Torah classes and Coffee with the Rabbi on Wednesdays.


Clearly, it is imperative that we continue to improve and upgrade our use of these technologies, both for your benefit and the administration of the synagogue. To that end, Bat Yam has created a new Technology Support Committee, reporting to the Board of Directors. The committee consists of Don Breiter, Ron Chaddock, Janice Block Chaddock, Mike Samet (Chair), Dave Waks, and Gary Weiss.  These individuals bring a broad array of tech knowledge and capability to the table.

Our goal is to create a formal way of providing Bat Yam members, clergy, and administrators
with the technology and support that will make the organization run efficiently, powerfully,
productively and enjoyably, focusing on technologies for the running of religious services, classes, meetings, and events; communications and Internet applications; and the administration of the institution.


Of course, we are continuing to run our email and website services, and we look forward to seeing continuing improvements there.  Over the next few months, the committee will be looking at various technologies to enhance all aspects of our Bat Yam experience, including Internet service within the SCUCC building; video, computer and Internet access during Saturday classes; and other electronics for various events during the year.  We will be exploring the setting up of some form of “Help Desk” for all of this technology.


Finally, for those who would like to join the Rabbi’s Friday night Shabbat Welcome but are not familiar with Zoom or do not have a Facebook account and need assistance in setting one up, please contact Ron Chaddock at or Garry Weiss at


We look forward to making Bat Yam even more enjoyable through the use of technology.

   ~ Michael Samet



The Tzedakah committee, which includes Nancy Greenberg, Nessa Adelson, Debbie Gurman, and Vickie Fuchs, would like to thank all those congregants who made donations to the Tzedakah fund during the 2019-2020 season.  With your help, we were able to make donations on behalf of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands to the following:


  • Yad La Kashish, an organization that provides food, transportation and art activities to elderly citizens of Israel.


  • Leket Israel, an organization that benefits Israelis and particularly children who are at risk.  The money will be used toward an initiative that rescues surplus meals from IDF
    bases, corporate cafeterias, and Israel hotel chains for redistribution to high schools and after-school programs for children at high risk.  The children get food that would otherwise be wasted.


  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). The project our donation will go toward is mental health first aid classes for one youth, one adult and one public-safety person.  


  • Jewish War Veterans of Southwest Florida. Our funds will go toward visits to VA hospitals, care for homeless veterans and care packages for Jewish soldiers.


  • Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which works with youth to teach about
    prejudice and to prevent antisemitism.


  • ACT (Abuse, Counseling and Treatment), which provides safe, confidential and free services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking and their children. Services include safe emergency shelter, individual and group counseling for adults and children, a 24-hour hotline, and educational outreach in schools and children’s programs.


  • The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida operates an In-school Pantry Program
    on 10 school campuses.  Schools are selected based on the highest percentages of
    students qualifying for subsidized meal programs. The food bank stocks the pantry with shelf-stable foods and, when possible, fresh produce.


  • Quality of Life Center provides youth development programs for at-risk students. They use a research-based model and track each student to provide tutoring in areas of
    individual need.

~ Vickie Fuchs



The Board of Directors has decided to bolster our security efforts, given the importance of our ongoing needs, and focus on providing a safe and secure environment for all Bat Yam events and gatherings.  As such, a new Venue and Security Committee was formed to plan, lead and manage all safety, security and logistical concerns for our congregation.  The committee is being co-led by Eddie Greenberg and Howard Lorsch but also consists of Bob Schoen, Ron Chaddock and
Michael Hochschild. 


The primary mission of this new committee will be two-fold: to liaise with the Sanibel Police to ensure their presence at all Temple services, gatherings and events and to ensure that logistical coordination and preparations are completed for smooth operations at Temple throughout the year.  We welcome any and all input and ask that you please contact either Eddie at or Howard at if you have any questions or concerns, or wish to assist with these important functions.

~ Ed Greenberg and Howard Lorsch