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Presidents' Blog No. 7: Jan 2018

(EDITOR'S NOTE: we accidentally skipped a month so there was no Blog #6)

Dear Congregants,

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This is the definition of insanity. This is also what we and most congregations in the United States are doing right now. We continue with the same dues structures, try to come up with fundraisers, community events, ways to bring in new members and nothing really changes. A couple of years ago the campaign, “Let’s Make Temple Beth Am Great Again” began, but it too has fizzled out. We are here, we go on day to day, our membership numbers, like the other temples in the area remain stagnant…members come in and members leave. Why? This is frustrating to all. Frustrating to us because we feel we are not making a difference and frustrating to you because your dues remain the same or go up.

We know many of congregants join to Bar/Bat Mitzvah their children and then leave. We know there are Jewish families in our community who remain unaffiliated. These families may be made up of two Jewish partners, one Jewish one not, single parents, individuals who would like to join without their families, same sex marriages, whatever the case may be. So now the question becomes, how can we get them, retain them and retain you? How do we become the place where Jewish families want to come and NOT LEAVE? We are truly working on it.

We are working on a dues structure that is “outside the box.” We are working on something that if it is successful, Temple Beth Am will be attractive to all families, our existing congregants and unaffiliated families. This plan, as it is developed could literally make or break the life of Temple Beth Am but we know we need to do something big because if we don’t we will not survive for any significant period of time. As they say, it is time to GO BIG OR GO HOME.

We will present at least two options to the Board for consideration and then we will present a new dues structure to the congregation. If we do adopt a structure which is “outside the box” we will need ALL of our congregants to be on board. We will need everyone to understand the attempt being made and step up to the plate, knowing what this is about.

We look forward to an open and honest discussion with our Board and our congregants in bringing about this initiative.

Shari Weissbach
Paul Ross
Co-Presidents