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2018 Legacy Circle Shabbat Honors Members Providing for the Future of CAI

At Shabbat morning services on April 30, the final day of Passover, CAI honored all of its Legacy Circle members with a Group Aliyah. It was a very touching moment as families from every generation gathered at the Bimah. Afterwards, two Legacy Circle members – Gail Black and Brian Snerson – spoke about their deeply personal reasons for making legacy commitments. Their desire to provide for the future of CAI was truly an inspiration.  Read below Gail and Brian’s remarks.

If you would like to learn how you can participate in the CAI Legacy Circle, please contact our Development Office, by email at or by calling 973-226-3600.

Brian Snerson's Legacy Circle Shabbat Remarks

We have been members of CAI for the last 15 years since we moved to New Jersey.  My wife Caryn has been involved as a Board Member and I have watched my children grow up in the nursery and religious school. 

As a parent with grade school children, most of my weekends have been dedicated to youth sports and other family events.  While we are far from the most active temple members, I have great respect and love for Agudath.  It makes me feel good to know that the CAI is there when we need it and will become a bigger part of our family in the years to come. 

It was for this reason the Legacy Campaign spoke to us.  We believe in paying it forward and giving a piece of our permanent life insurance policies in addition to annual fund donations satisfies both short and long term objectives.  I would encourage other members of the CAI community to consider CAI in their estate planning and leave behind a gift that will sustain our synagogue for future generations.

Gail Black's Legacy Circle Shabbat Remarks

Thank you to Esther for that introduction. 

Esther Kartus asked if I would speak to you about why we decided to become part of the Legacy Circle. 

Sure, I said, thinking this would be easy. 

I am part of this community and want to ensure its future.  Said.  Done.  Shabbat Shalom.

But not really.  I didn’t fully answer the question, or perhaps the emotion that went along with our decision to donate to CAI in our will.

For us, we had to first decide to be a part of the Legacy Circle, then we had to actually do it.   

We had thought about adding CAI to our will for a while, along with some other changes that needed to be made, but we just weren’t ready to take that step. 

And then we realized, what were we waiting for?  Two of our three children were now married, and when we first wrote a will, we only had one child.  Things had certainly changed and time has flown by. 

But WHY:  Why donate to a building and to services that we would no longer need and that our children may not be members of in the future?

Well, Agudath Israel is not just a building to us. It is made up of individuals who have put into place services that reach out to the different parts of us. 

As the Rabbi has described, the head Jew, heart Jew and hand Jew. 

It is a home of sorts, a place for us to feel connected to Judaism on different levels. 

It is a community that understands the need for rituals, life cycle events and, for me, the spiritual aspects that calm me, the intellectual aspects that enrich me, and for the hand Jew that I am, the social action that calls to me.

And becoming part of the Legacy Circle, is in a way, Tikkun Olam, repairing and helping our immediate world into the future.

In spite of not knowing each one of you personally, Agudath Israel connects us and I feel like it is a way of fulfilling the mitzvah of teaching generation to generation.

It is also a way of giving back to the community we have grown to love.

It is a way of saying thank you, and hoping that our contribution will provide the next generation with a place to call home, a place to worship and to learn.  A place for Judaism to continue and to grow.

We are proud of all the programs and support our leaders and volunteers provide to people in our community, Israel and around the world. 

All of this could not be possible without volunteers and donations.  I don’t know what the future will look like, but I am hoping that in some small way I am contributing to make it a better one for all of us.  Won’t you consider doing the same?

Shabbat Shalom, for real. 

April 19,2024 /  11 Nisan 5784