Brian Stern’s personality was larger than life and our Congregation has sorely missed him. Brian was one of the most selfless individuals I have ever met. I got to know him well about four years ago when I got laid off from a company where I had worked for over 12 years. He played tennis with me several times a week during my job search and we had many conversations that really helped me get through that difficult time. He was always able to bring a smile to my face even when I was struggling to stay positive. I have heard similar stories from many members of our Congregation – he was really the light that lit up Etz Hayim.
When we received Brian’s legacy gift earlier this year, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of his $100,000 bequest, but because of his past generosity, I was not surprised. Brian was a founding member of the Etz Hayim Legacy Program and helped us grow our program to 30 commitments. He knew that this was such an important way to pay it forward and sustain our congregation, ensuring its viability for future generations.
Brian’s generous gift will be used to pay down our Line of Credit Mortgage once the replacement of our roof is completed over the summer. His bequest has been placed in a restricted fund until such time as the work can be completed. Any remaining money will be used to pay down our building loan balance. The Board has also authorized the renaming of the annual picnic in memory of Brian as this was hands down his favorite event where he was the grill master for many years. Brian’s devotion to Etz Hayim has been an inspiration to many of our members. Brian has shown us how we can all make a lasting impact in our synagogue community. Etz Hayim will be forever grateful for his generosity and I consider myself lucky to have called him my friend.