Here’s to You: Volunteer Appreciation Shabbat on May 3

By Steve Barberio

A few weeks ago, I shared with the congregation our increasing focus on the importance of volunteers as key contributors to the health and vitality of Bet Shalom. There are many who help out as ushers, landscapers, committee members, kitchen helpers, and in so many other ways who deserve to be recognized for their contributions.

At our Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday, May 3, we will recognize the many ways our members have contributed to programs and activities at Bet shalom. We’ll begin the evening with a Kabbalat Panim at 5:30, followed by the evening service, and then a light dinner afterward in the social hall. If you contributed your time as a volunteer in the past year, please join us.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of areas people volunteered in the past year, but if you engaged in any of these activities, please join us:

  • -Serving on the Board or on a committee
  • -Ushering during Shabbat or on High Holy Days
  • -Landscaping
  • -Helping out at the fall block party
  • -Working the concession stand at a Minnesota Twins game
  • -Serving snack at Religious School
  • -Helping out teachers and staff at Relgious School
  • -Giving time and expertise in support of Bet Shalom Yeladim
  • -Helping organize the storage room and other spaces at the synagogue
  • -Donating time in the kitchen as a helper or cook
  • -Doing office work in support of the administration
  • -Volunteering at a fundraiser or other event

It’s entirely possible that I’ve missed at least one area that people have volunteered, but on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff, we are so grateful for the contributions being made by our members. So join us on Shabbat on May 3 to be recognized for your generosity.

Please RSVP by April 30 if you plan to join us after services for dinner by clicking HERE.

Volunteers Matter at Bet Shalom

By Stephen Barberio

Upon joining the leadership team at Bet Shalom, Rabbi Locketz and Julie Sprau helped me become aware of the importance of volunteerism at Bet Shalom. They impressed upon me how important volunteers are to the future of our synagogue and wanted to explore how we could strengthen our approach to volunteerism. During my first year in this position, I spent a lot of time learning about how volunteers help carry out the mission of the synagogue. There are three critical ways in which Bet Shalom depends on volunteers to sustain itself as a thriving congregation.


The role of the Board of Trustees has been strengthened tremendously over the past year. As I said during our town hall meetings last month, I have never seen a more engaged and involved Board of Directors in my 30+ years working in the nonprofit sector. Our Board has evolved from a hands-on, managing group of leaders, to an oversight body that delegates to its professional staff the day-to-day management of the synagogue.

Advisory Role

We have committees and membership engagement groups, made up of volunteers, that mostly serve in advisory capacity to the Board and senior staff. While the charter of each of these groups is distinct, the common purpose is to help the synagogue be successful. Some examples include the Ritual Forum, which provides Rabbi Locketz with a sounding board for ideas he may wish to pursue and the Marketing Committee which serves as a resource for staff, as it designs and implements marketing strategies to improve internal and external communications. A last example is the Youth Engagement Committee, which offers insights and feedback to Rabbi Crimmings, Ali King, and Amber Brumbaugh about youth programming.

Member Engagement

It is through our member engagement groups that our members can become actively and directly involved in some of the tasks that serve Bet Shalom’s mission.  Our group of ushers (we need more!), led by Peggy Garberick and Vera Levit, provides invaluable support to the congregation by ushering during services on Shabbat and holidays. A group of volunteers (we need more!) helps keep our landscape looking beautiful. And, of course, our Kitchen Committee is dedicated to building community at Bet Shalom through cooking. The proceeds of their work support the upkeep of the kitchen equipment. Did you know that the Kitchen Committee and other volunteers baked more than 4,500 hamentaschen this spring?!!

Two areas where we need to improve volunteerism at Bet Shalom are recruitment and recognition. This commentary is one step in building awareness about volunteerism, and you can continue to look for other communication about how to become more involved. The second area is in volunteer recognition. While I don’t think Bet Shalom volunteers donate their time to be recognized for doing so, it is important that we acknowledge those who contribute in this way. Over the next few months, I hope you’ll notice ways in which we call out the tremendous work of our volunteers.

Please feel free to contact me at or 952-933-8525 if you’d like to become involved as a volunteer at Bet Shalom.  Thank you!