Keeping Connected with our President
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 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
December 2018 Newsletter Article
In our continuing effort to provide the information you are looking for as efficiently as possible, you will be seeing some changes in temple communications in the very near future. A few months ago, we introduced our new website, with its home page designed to show what we’re all about – highlighting our welcoming spirit, the caring nature of our community, and key events. The website home page also gives our members easy access to information on services, events, and more. This was a major first step in a process whose goal is to provide the information you are looking for as easily as possible.
The next steps have been to consider carefully the role of our Newsletter and our Weekly Updates.
For quite a while the Communications Committee has asked the question, “what is the purpose of the Newsletter?” Much of the content of each Newsletter is already being sent to our membership in other ways. This is the right time for us to make a significant change. The Newsletter is being replaced with a much shorter monthly email. No need to worry. Each piece that is being taken out to create a more manageable monthly email will have a new home. Among the Weekly Updates, event-specific emails, and the new monthly email we will be communicating all the same information to you.
November 2018 Newsletter Article
I realize some of you might be tempted to skip over this column as soon as you realize that I’m writing to ask for volunteers. Wait! Please give me me a chance to say why your reaction shouldn’t be, “Oh no, not again, can’t they ask someone else?”
As you know, we rely on our committees to provide many services which are the lifeblood of our temple. A little over a year ago when I became President, I knew of a number of committees which had open positions and that it would be my job to help fill them. There were volunteers who had moved, were burned out, or were ready to move on to something new – and they needed to be replaced with fresh people who were interested in becoming involved. It was a process of working to find the right people to step in to fill some holes. I’ve been very pleased over these months to have been a part of making progress in these important volunteer areas.
Well, it turns out that looking for volunteers is a never-ending process. Change is the norm. Each volunteer has a limit on how long they want to be in the same position, doing essentially the same thing. We each maintain a balance in our lives between looking for new challenges and wanting to keep to the comfortable status quo. There comes a time for every volunteer when they let us know they’d like to move on. If circumstances permit, most are gracious and offer to stay until someone can replace them, but we must respect their wishes once they’ve let us know..