Volunteer Spotlight

Bert Tobin

When did you join The Community Synagogue?  OR How long have you been a member of The Community Synagogue?

I came to Port in 1969 and as a conservative Jewish family, joined Temple Beth Israel.  I became VP in 1971.  We, together with 5 other families, left TBI for The Community Synagogue in 1971.

What brought you/keeps you here?

I buried my conservative instincts (initially) since many of our local friends were at TCS.  While becoming an active member, we have seen TCS move from ultra-liberal (95% English service, no yarmulke or tallit) to semi-conservative.  I had my marriage to Nancy at TCS with Rabbi Rpsenberg and Cantor Yaron officiating. I was and continue to be active in Brotherhood, having been its President from 1992 to 1994.  I also served on the Board during these years and a few more afterwards.

In what capacity do you volunteer?

I have had a number of volunteer efforts.  I led earlier efforts for Operation Moses to transport Ethiopian Jews to Israel; raised funds to bring a planeload of Soviet refuseniks to the US; initiated and ran the Brotherhood Candle program for more than 10 years which raised funds for our Holocaust Memorial fund; commissioned and donated the Holocaust menorah sculpture which stands in our lobby; organized and chaired the 92nd St Y program for the past 9 years; organized the B’Yachad golf outings for 4 years which raised more than $200,000 for the B’Yachad construction; was the TCS Owner representative and project manager of B’Yachad for 8 years which led to the construction of the ECC, the MPR, and renovation of the Hebrew school and historic exterior.

Tell us one interesting thing about you that people might not know.

When I was In high school, I was a chazzan sheni at the Whitestone Hebrew Center.  Conducted the overflow services for the high holidays and the children services during the year.  At the time I was leaning towards a rabbinical career but was led astray to the world of finance and computers way back in 1955.