Keeping Connected with our President
Keeping Connected September 2019
It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August. As always, the summer went by far too quickly. Last month, I told you about how hard we have been working to step up security at Congregation Shalom. I want you to be aware of some new procedures that will be in place for the High Holidays. These procedures will be a change from what we are used to, but are being implemented to provide a safer environment in our sanctuary while providing a welcoming environment for our guests. In the next few weeks, all of our members will receive “passes” for High Holidays. Please note that these are not “tickets” and have no monetary value. We will be mailing these passes to each family, providing one pass for every member of the household over 13. When you arrive for High Holiday services, you will be asked to show either your pass or your key card at the front door. If you are bringing guests with you to services, you can just let us know and we will send you additional passes; more information will be forthcoming on how to do this. Non-members will be asked to sign in and will then receive a pass. This will allow us to (1) know who is in our building and (2) obtain the necessary contact information so we can follow up with these guests after the High Holidays are over. I hope you will bear with us and be patient as we implement these new procedures. Please know that this type of practice is happening at many Reform and Conservative congregations throughout the country.
We are also going to be providing a Security Update and practicing an evacuation drill on Sunday September 8 at 4:00 PM in the sanctuary. There will be more information coming on this event. We are hoping for as many people as possible to attend so we can have an effective and meaningful evacuation drill. Note: we will provide food and you will be home in time for the 8:20 Patriots game. So, for now, please just save the date.
I hope you enjoy the remainder of summer and I look forward to seeing you all in September.
Keeping Connected August 2019
I hope everyone is still enjoying the wonderful summer months. Although the temple is relatively quiet right now, there are a lot of important activities happening in preparation for this coming year. What I really want you to be aware of is the work of our very active Security Committee, co-chaired by Alan Fidler and Cayla Maguire. Unfortunately, as you know, we live in challenging times, and must pay more attention to the security of our building and the safety of our members. The Security Committee started meeting at the end of May and the amount of work they have accomplished in such a short period of time is quite impressive. They have developed a detailed plan, and have met with state officials, the local police department and town officials, all with the idea in mind that WE need to feel safe and comfortable when we are at Congregation Shalom. There are many potential challenges in developing this program and the committee is working with the board of trustees on all aspects of their plan. More
Keeping Connected July 2019
Happy Summer! At this time, you should have received the pledge packets for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. I ask that you please return these as soon as possible. This coming year, we have some important work to tackle, including but not limited to: the evaluation of new revenue stream options for our temple, membership outreach, taking a hard look at security and making some changes where needed, and diving into the results of the survey we all participated in last fall. I promise we will be sharing the results of this survey with you in the next 2 months.
We have 4 committees in need of help and I would like to use this time to tell you a little bit about these positions.
- Technology: We need someone with experience in various aspects of technology including computers, video cameras, printers, televisions, and more. We do have some systems in place (e.g., computer maintenance consultant) and part of the job will just be overseeing and making sure our systems are functioning.
- Adult Education: We currently have a very active committee that just needs a chair to provide the coordination and management of tasks, a project manager. This committee meets periodically, but not monthly.
- Fine Arts/Beautification: This committee only needs to meet on an as-needed basis. We have not had a full-fledged committee in a while but we do have people interested in the aesthetics and look of our temple. We are looking for someone to coordinate this group of people when the need arises and someone who has an eye for making and keeping our temple beautiful.
- Oneg: Caren Boroshok is need of an assistant to help organize the Onegs for the year.She is ideally looking for someone in the school community. This position requires no meetings and all tasks are done through the use of a computer program.
Ideally, I would love to start off the new year with all committees fully staffed. So, please let me know if you think you see a fit with one of these openings. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact me.
I look forward to serving as the temple president and working and collaborating with each of you. I hope you know you can reach out to me anytime. Enjoy your summer.
Keeping Connected June 2019
This is my last newsletter article as the temple’s president, and I’m tempted to write about what the experience has meant to me, how thankful I am for the support that has been offered to me, the personal growth I’ve experienced, and what will come next for me at Congregation Shalom. But I won’t indulge that, because this column is not about me. It is a place to talk about our temple. So, I will write about some things I’ve learned about our temple in my time as president.
Here is what I know about Congregation Shalom. We have many people in our community who are willing to work hard year after year to transform plans and visions into reality. That is huge! Our belief in the importance of what we do, the value of what we provide to the Jews in this area – this is the motivation to keep going and to move forward.
I am filled with an appreciation of our temple that I only found by diving into the deep end. I am inspired by what I see within our walls. The love and respect of over 150 people who came to honor Rabbi Perry after her twenty years at our synagogue was beautiful to see. The synergy of the committee that worked together to plan the details of that evening was a joy to be a part of. More
Keeping Connected May 2019
I feel proud to write about another joyous anniversary in our temple’s life. A year-and-a-half ago we celebrated 50 years since Congregation Shalom’s founding. And now we are celebrating Rabbi Perry’s 20thanniversary with our congregation! On May 11 we will be honoring her with a fun night of music, socializing, and storytelling. We will be providing hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and desserts. Many, many members and friends have already said you’ll be coming and I expect it to be a lively evening. If you haven’t already, please send in a check for your tickets. In the event you would like to make a donation in her honor, she would prefer donations be directed to the Chai Fund.
I know Annual Meeting is still a month away, but I’d like to take a few lines to outline some of the objectives for that day. This Annual Meeting will be very much like other recent ones. We need to approve the budget, we will vote on the nominees for the Board of Trustees, and we will talk about upcoming capital projects. The budgeting process on the expense side is exactly the same as always, although we hope to present the information in a more transparent way. More
Keeping Connected April 2019
Passover is coming soon, and you might be anticipating a call from a member of the Board wishing you a happy Passover. The Board’s intention with these calls each Passover and High Holiday season has been to convey to each member that the lay leadership of Congregation Shalom values their connection to our community, and that we are ready to listen if they wish to contact us. This is still true. But, lest anyone think they’ve been “left off the call list”, I want to let you know that we have decided not to make those phone calls this spring.
I want to assure you that we took this decision seriously. We have considered it occasionally over the past few years, finding that fewer members answer their phones than in a previous era. Leaving messages on answering machines just wasn’t the personal experience we were aiming for. The deciding factor for us was the response to a question in the member survey administered this fall. When you were asked for your thoughts on the call you receive from the Board at Rosh Hashana and Passover, the vast majority gave a negative reaction. Over 35% said it has no meaning to them, nearly 20% don’t remember it, and close to 30% responded that they’d prefer an email instead. More