[NOTE: For those of you who were not able to attend the Annual Meeting on June 3rd, below is an excerpt of the speech I presented to the congregation. I look forward to seeing you soon at Temple!]
Good afternoon and welcome to the Annual Meeting of the Temple. It’s been a busy year and I’m excited to share with you an overview of the Board’s accomplishments. We have worked very hard focusing on our strategic planning initiatives. I realize it’s not a very exciting topic, but the work completed was necessary in order to understand our challenges and move the congregation forward into the twenty-first century.
Over the past year, the Board revised our mission and vision statements, we conducted a series of vision forums asking our congregants what is working and what is not working about Temple as well as their dreams for Temple, we restructured the Board and we revised the Temple by-laws to reflect the new structure. All of these tasks were completed to fulfill the first of a three-year plan associated with our strategic planning initiatives. And speaking of the by-laws, I would like to thank Rachele Hjelmaas for her important role in revising the by-laws and to Steve Schoenebaum for providing invaluable legal advice and recommendations toward the end of the revision process. The Board and I are so grateful for the time and dedication you took to address this important document.
The one most important take away for me is how more focused the Board, staff, Rabbi Kaufman and I are becoming. I credit our strategic planning for allowing us to be open to change and to challenge the ways things have been done in the past. It has been an ever-evolving process that allows us to clearly define the work we have to do including outlining and documenting processes and procedures and creating roles and responsibilities of the Board, staff and Rabbi.
The new Board will consist of six executive officers and eight vision leaders: Worship, Music, Membership, Social Action, Education, IT/Communication, Finance, Building and Grounds. The term “Vision Leader” reflects the responsibility of those individuals who will support the pillars of the mission statement. The IT/Communication Vision Leader is a new position on the Board that will focus for the first time on Temple branding, social media and reaching out to our congregants and community in an effective manner. All of our vision leaders will select and guide their vision teams made up of you, our congregation.
The vision teams have been designed to allow all of our congregants to volunteer. As a matter of fact, at our vision forums, several participants asked what ways can people volunteer? There’s a vision team for every skill set. Whether you’re interested in a short-term task, a long-term project or something in between, there’s a place for you as a volunteer. Whether it’s event planning, music, number crunching, building social connections, designing educational opportunities, graphic design, landscaping, working with seniors, supporting our youth group, overseeing spiritual life, Temple has something for everyone! Vision teams allow for the maximum number of congregants to get involved as volunteers to support the Temple without expanding the Board to an unwieldy size.
We will be scheduling volunteer fairs for you to learn about and sign up for vision teams as well as other Temple related volunteer opportunities. In addition, I felt it was important to invite those organizations who we are partnering with the Temple on social action projects to formally introduce themselves and allow us to learn a little more about them. Today, we have with us Habitat for Humanity. Last year, our congregation was invited by Church of Christ to participate with them and other religious institutions in an interfaith build. If you participated in the build, it was a wonderful feeling to give back to the community and spread Tikun Olam! Rachele Hjelmaas, our Social Action Vision Leader, has formed a strong relationship with Habitat for Humanity to continue our good work together. In a few minutes, Rachele will introduce our guests from Habitat for Humanity for a brief presentation.
None of these accomplishments could have been completed without the dedication of our Board. I’d like to thank each and every one of our Board members who committed their time and leadership. Several individuals who will no longer serve on the Board because of the restructure have agreed to join vision teams where they will continue to focus on the tasks they enjoyed as Board members. I so appreciate their understanding and willingness to see the transition as an opportunity and I look forward to working with them in their new roles. And to those Board members who have decided to step down, I’d like to thank them for their time and valuable contributions. I now look forward to implementing our new Board structure and continue working with those Board members who will transition alongside me as well as our newly-elected Board members, Samantha Kemp Carlin and Ben Swartz.
My thanks to Rabbi David Kaufman, our Temple staff; David Muenchrath, Erin Plank, Wendy Beckerman, Jake Heilman and Charles Stanton; and President-elect Gabrielle Callistein for all of your hard work. Your dedication to this wonderful institution truly inspires me.|
Finally, I’d like to thank each of you for being here today and for your support of Temple B’nai Jeshurun. Please join me and the Board for an ice cream social and take time to discover and sign-up for the wonderful volunteer opportunities awaiting you.
With our renewed vitality, refreshed vision and call for increased volunteerism, we will become more connected as a community, more active as volunteers and provide a true sense of Jewish purpose and meaning from generation to generation.