By Stephen Barberio, Executive Director
As the Bet Shalom fiscal year draws to a close, I would like to highlight three significant developments that have taken place in the past year. This marks the end of my first full fiscal year as Executive Director, and I am proud of how far we’ve come in such a relatively short period of time.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that the process of change is often bumpy and difficult. Although a change itself may be for the best, transitions are sometimes difficult for those managing them and those on the receiving end. We made some big changes this year and I’m sincerely grateful to our clergy and the Board for their leadership and guidance as we’ve taken steps to strengthen how the synagogue functions on behalf of the congregation. Outlined below are three areas where significant change has taken place this year, followed by a section for “what’s next” at Bet Shalom in 2019/2020.
Hopefully, everyone is now aware that we made a shift in how the synagogue relates to its members through financial commitments. Transitioning from a health-club type of dues model to a philanthropic approach has assigned our members the responsibility of determining the amount they’ll pledge each year. Considering their own circumstances, the $3,000+ per household cost to run the synagogue, and the fact that some members can pay more than others, we now ask congregants to state their pledge before the start of the fiscal year. If you haven’t made your pledge, please do so today by clicking HERE.
It took us the entire year to pull together our entire team, but we now have an outstanding group of professionals running the day-to-day operations of the synagogue. Over the course of the year, we experimented with different half-time and full-time positions, as a way to run the synagogue. With a full team of professionals, we now have the capacity to fully serve the wide range of needs of the congregation. As the new year unfolds, please watch for our communications to improve, our new Development Director to connect with our membership in meaningful ways, and for the delivery of our programs and services to continue to improve.
During the past six weeks, the staff has focused on planning the upcoming school year in a way that fully considers all of the details required to pull off successful programming. Taking away nothing from our successes in the past, we have attempted to move up our planning process by six to 12 months, clarifying roles and responsibilities among everyone involved.
Last fall, the Board of Trustees adopted four strategic themes for Bet Shalom: Building Sacred Community (Kehilah Kedosha); Applying Study to Our Lives (Talmud Torah); Nurturing Our Souls (Tikkun HaNefesh); and Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam). These themes are now guiding the Board, senior staff, and our committees to do the work of the synagogue. As the coming year unfolds, watch for greater emphasis to be placed on deeper member engagement, how we do so through these strategic themes, and a broader commitment to recruitment of and involvement with younger members of our congregation.
Please join us this Friday at 5:00 PM in the social hall for our annual congregational meeting, at which time our Board President, Julie Sprau, will update the membership on these and other matters of interest. Eric Bressler, President of the Bet Shalom Endowment, will also provide an update on the progress of the endowment this year.