The Kalfus Family

How did a bassoonist and a percussionist meet, get married and eventually join Temple Sinai?

Kalfus family at ocean beach

Tina grew up in Colchester and attended schools in Burlington and Colchester. On Sundays she and her sister and parents would drive to Montreal and while they attended an Estonian school in Montreal, their her parents visited Estonian friends in Montreal. Tina is first generation American and she only spoke Estonian with her grandparents. She has an older sister who lives in Michigan and is a pharmacist. Tina graduated from the University of Vermont and moved to Plattsburgh for work, after graduating. She lived there for about five years. It was during that time that she met “Howie”. They moved back to Burlington when they got married.

Howard grew up in Livingston NJ. He has an older sister who lives in Londonderry NH, and a younger sister who lives in West Orange NJ. His parents retired to Vermont, so Howard says, partly in jest, “It’s obvious who their favorite child is!”

Howard graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst MA and then graduated from Seton Hall Law School in Newark NJ.

Tina and Howard Kalfus met at a Phish concert in Plattsburgh NY in 1996, where they happened to play in the orchestra. The band wanted an orchestra to open for them. Phish chose the music (all classical) and the orchestra played before the crowd of around 90,000 people! The orchestra was conducted by Bill Phillips, one of the founding members of the Canadian Brass. Howard is the joyful percussionist for Dahg, the Lyric Theatre and the Vermont Wind Ensemble, and Tina plays bassoon with the Vermont Wind Ensemble. So playing music is very much present in their lives today.

Professionally Tina is a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin VT. Howard is a judge with the Vermont Judicial Bureau, where he hears civil violations throughout the State.

Josh and Anna KalfusThey have two talented and committed children, Josh and Anna. At the time of this writing, Josh is 17 And Anna is 16. Anna is on the Varsity Dance Team, and the tennis team at Colchester High School, and she also is a percussionist. She plays in the Vermont Youth Philharmonia and substitutes with the Vermont Youth Orchestra, as needed. Anna has been working for the Lake Monsters this summer, and as she says, “it’s the best summer job ever!” Anna also has volunteered for the past few years at Temple Sinai’s religious school.

Josh dancing with ballerinaJosh is in the pre-professional ballet program with the Boston Ballet, so he is very excited to spend his senior year in Boston this year. He was just recently in Seattle WA in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s summer ballet program, and the year before, he was in Miami with the Miami City Ballet. Josh is interested in pursuing a career in pharmaceutical sciences, and of course he is still dancing!

The Kalfus family’s favorite destination for vacations has recently been to New York City, where they all enjoy musical theatre. Tina said that another of her favorite places to vacation is York Beach in Maine.

In terms of hobbies or activities, Tina loves to read and Howard loves to run races and play music. Both of them are fans of author Archer Mayor because of the Vermont Setting or Harlen Coben. Incidentally, Harlen was Howard’s cousin’s best friend, growing up in Livington NJ. Howard has raced about every distance from one mile up to 50 miles. “I much prefer the longer distances (26 to 50 miles); there’s no pressure to run fast”. For music, he likes to play different styles. Lately, most of his musical attention has been devoted to playing in pit orchestras for musicals (mostly with the Lyric Theatre Company) and playing with Dahg. “I’m constantly amazed, amused and glad about how Dahg has developed over the last few years. It’s a great group of musicians and friends”.

When asked what attracted them to Temple Sinai, Tina said that they decided to bring up their children in the Jewish faith. Tina grew up Lutheran. As she learned more about Judaism and later visited Temple Sinai and talked with the Rabbi, it became clear that she wanted to join the Temple. She and Howard both agree that the Temple is most welcoming to couples of mixed faiths.

As former President of Temple Sinai, Howard has a refreshing perspective. “I had the privilege of working with two dynamite individuals: Steve Greenfield, who preceded me as president, and Tim Cope, who succeeded me. With them, we tackled some significant challenges including changes in the front office, cleaning up our accounting and faced fiscal difficulties, brought on in large part by diminishing membership. I’m not sure that I can think of anything that I’d have done differently. I had a very competent, effective board and I think that we did as much as we could given the challenges referenced above. I’m probably most proud of the state of our accounting practices today and the fact that we’ve had stability in the front office between Stacie and Michael. Temple needs to evolve to a congregation that is attractive to future generations. In all likelihood, a successful congregation tomorrow will look very different from the successful congregation of today. Michael and the current leadership have done a wonderful job of bringing us forward technologically. This is a great first step.”