Keeping Connected with our President
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
Keeping Connected March 2019
Our New England weather changes on a seasonal, even daily, basis. Those who live in other places of the world may enjoy a predictable climate. A reliable 70 degrees and sunny might even feel enviable as we slog through winter. But New Englanders generally relish the seasonal changes, finding the changes in weather invigorating and something to look forward to.
In our personal lives, sometimes we seek to maintain a comfortable status quo. Sometimes we feel more daring and seek out new adventures. Sometimes the world imposes on our lives and tells us it’s time to deal with change. We each try to maintain a balance in our lives that feels right between keeping the status quo and growing.
We have been talking about changes lately at Congregation Shalom. In early January we introduced new communications vehicles for our membership. More
Keeping Connected February 2019
This past Sunday I had the pleasure of working with Rich Laider’s third graders. Each year, Moreh Rich plans a Press Conference. The purpose is for the 3rdgraders to understand more about how the temple runs. Temple leadership are invited to come meet with the class. Moreh Rich prepares the students and they come to the press conference with questions in hand. This year he gave me, Rabbi Perry, and our Education Director the questions ahead of time. It was clear that a lot of thought went into their great questions!
Keeping Connected January 2019
The violence at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh in late October horrified us all, and left us with some valid concerns about safety. I want to assure you that we are taking steps, under Stephen Rodman’s leadership, to review our security protocols. We have met with a lieutenant from the Chelmsford Police Department to get his professional input. He let us know we are already doing some things well. He made some suggestions we plan to implement, and others we are looking into. I want to let you know that we will send an update to our membership with more specific information on security issues in the next month. More