On Sunday, January 22, Congregation B’nai B’rith (CBB) held a Chagall-inspired Dreamers Ball at the Bacara Resort & Spa to celebrate the 25th anniversary of service by Cantor Mark Childs and the 90th anniversary of the synagogue. A sold-out crowd of 450 supporters turned out for this elegant affair, which began with a cocktail reception with We the Folk setting the mood with fun, lively music.
A motzi (blessing over challah bread) was lead by Cantor Childs and the Dream Team Co-Chairs Hallie Avolio, Elizabeth Fineberg, Ruth Hartzman, Judi Koper (Board President), Adele Rosen, Liat Wasserman, Marcy Wimbish, and Elizabeth Gaynes (Executive Director). The Co-Chairs graciously held a several foot-long challah on the grand staircase while throngs of guests snapped pictures of this lovely, festive scene before the bread was passed through the crowd. Good cheer permeated the venue.
At dinner, guests were greeted by CBB Board President Judi Koper and Rabbi Steve Cohen. After a tasty three-course meal, Cantor Childs was honored for his 25 years of service.
According to Rabbi Cohen, Childs “is an exceptional human being, a brilliant and humble leader, a supremely reliable teammate and partner, and gifted singer.” While listing many attributes of Childs, Cohen noted that “what matters most of all is Mark’s compassion when we are hurting, his hilarious sense of humor and his deep seriousness, his honesty and integrity….”
Childs’ work extends throughout the synagogue and beyond into the community. Among his community commitments are as the Jewish liaison with the Santa Barbara Interfaith Initiative, chaplain at Cottage Hospital, spiritual advisor at many assisted living homes, and consultant with Showers of Blessings, Anti-Defamation League, and UCSB Hillel.
Childs humbly stated that “to be part of the story of these 90 years of Congregation B’nai B’rith is a privilege. To share this night with all of you is a mystical and holy dream.”
In addition to marking the two anniversaries, the ball had an underlying theme of “honoring yesterday, today and tomorrow.” It paid homage to the 14 founding families who created CBB in 1927. CBB is the oldest and largest synagogue in Santa Barbara, serving 800 families today. As for the future, Rabbi Cohen explained that “our congregation should be a light to our entire city, and a model of a healthy, feisty, dynamic, reverent, warm and welcoming community.”
For more information about Congregation B’nai B’rith, go to cbbsb.org.
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