Shema Koleinu, Hear All Our Voices, is Temple Beth-El’s visioning initiative that will help us identify the strategic priorities and plan for the strong future of our congregation. The Vision Advisory Committee is committed to keeping congregants informed and engaged, providing avenues for participation and input. Your input is invaluable.

The text below contains the most current Visioning updates. It was published in the January 2017 Temple Beth-El Bulletin.

Dear Friends:

Thank you to so many of you who came out last month to hear from Debra Brosan and share feedback with us as we move ahead on the Shema Koleinu Visioning process. The Filler Cultural Center was packed, and your feedback was very much appreciated. The Board met on December 7 to review the recommendations from the Visioning Advisory Committee and consider Clergy search plans for the upcoming year. I wanted to let you know the results of the meeting and seek your support, commitment and assistance in executing our community plans.

Clergy Search: The Board had a comprehensive discussion about the pros and cons of moving forward with a rabbinical search and options for rabbinical leadership, including the possible extension of Rabbi Leff’s contract for an additional year as an Interim Rabbi. Factors discussed focused on the most advantageous timing of a Senior Rabbi search, the ongoing development of the strategic visioning initiatives, and the congregational feedback through the Visioning survey and Listening Sessions.

Ultimately, the Board voted not to pursue a search for a lead Rabbi at this time. It was recommended that we focus our full attention on identifying the needs of young families and the educational needs of our youth. The Board decided to pursue a search for the best professional to fulfill the immediate musical and educational needs of the TBE community, and that search will commence shortly. We will begin preparations this spring for a lead Rabbi search, so that by next fall we are fully ready for a national Rabbinic search.

Visioning Task Forces: During her December visit, Debra Brosan shared five strategic focus areas to be addressed through Task Forces. These involve the following five areas:

  • Hire the Right Rabbi: Create a task force to hire the right rabbi that will create stability in the TBE community.
  • The Building: Develop a property planning proposal to inform decision-making regarding the viability of renting the building, exploring collaborations that will result in revenue generation/savings or moving to a smaller facility.
  • Culture Change: Develop and foster a culture of community by accepting difference, inclusion through engagement and welcoming.
  • Governance and Administration: Look at innovative, streamlined and efficient ways to restructure how clergy, staff, Board and volunteers work together to run effectively TBE (operations) and implement the Strategic Initiatives. Organize governance and administrative processes to ensure that TBE’s leadership and congregation accomplish its work through effective and efficient utilization of resources to reach its strategic vision.
  • Finance: Develop and implement financial policies and procedures, oversee fiduciary responsibilities, generate new revenue streams, and educate members on financial processes and procedures for TBE.

The Visioning Advisory Committee and Board have approved these initiatives, and we are starting to form Task Forces this month that focus on the Building, Culture Change, and Governance and Administration, as well as our search for a Music/Educator position. We welcome your participation and feedback.

I want to thank the entire VAC, led by Lisa Engel and Loraine Reznik, for their hard work over the past year. They have completed their task and have officially disbanded in order to support the formation of Task Forces identified through their work. I am grateful to Loraine and Lisa and the entire VAC for their commitment of time and wisdom.

There is much good going on in our spiritual home, and I am grateful to each of you for your support. Wishing you a warm and rewarding New Year.

Jacob Halpern, Temple Beth-El President

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