Sid Altman’s (z”l) Story
Founding President: 1983-1986
(Told to Shelley Rosenberg and recorded shortly before his death)
I arranged a meeting with Ira Eisenstein and suggested I wanted to establish a Congregation. I envisioned a laboratory congregation at the RRC and had a meeting with Ron Brauner, the dean of Students, to confirm what we were going to do. We had a nucleus of six families from the Havurah that were willing to underwrite the $20,000 for the four rabbinical students.
It [Starting the Congregation] was very much a joint effort with the College, largely in the person of Rebecca Alpert. Ira Silverman was president [of the RRC] at the time and very supportive of the development of the Congregation. We were quite fortunate in that we paid no rent and the College subsidized utilities.
I became President and there was nothing remarkable except that a Constitution and Bylaws were drafted. That first year was organizational. We had an active board and committee structure. Some Board members felt that we should be moving more quickly toward independence and taking on more responsibility for ourselves. We also had the question of how traditional versus how innovative to be.