President’s Post – February 2017

We’re All Ears

Marc Kaiser, President

As 2017 begins, I think about the promise of annual resolutions and what will make this year different from 2016.

I’m reminded about three common New Year’s resolutions…losing weight, getting organized, and being a better person. Most of you know that I’m an excellent candidate for all three!

Wearing my TBE President’s hat, though, my three resolutions this year are predictably similar to prior years…grow our membership, improve our financial stability, and continue providing meaning and spiritual value to the community. Why are the three so similar to prior years? Perhaps because they’re so difficult to accomplish, yet core to the purpose of our community’s leadership.

We strive continuously to attract new members. Membership is our lifeblood. Members provide us with vitality, friendship, and support. They participate in programs that deepen their knowledge and connection to Judaism. We’ve been fairly successful with the challenges of natural attrition over the last several years. As members move away, are deceased, or leave the community, we’ve added enough new members to remain relatively stable. Most synagogues and churches around the U.S. have seen their membership go down substantially recently. This dynamic is true particularly for more recent generations of Gen-Xers and Millenials. Congregations such as ours are experimenting with ways to attract younger generations of Jews to their spiritual communities.

There’s an obvious connection between membership growth and improving our financial stability. More members can provide the incremental contributions needed to help spread the costs of services and programming. We’ve begun to develop a plan to find and recruit new members more assertively and more innovatively. You’ll hear more as it develops and as we uncover sources of funding needed to support it. I strongly believe that the effort will provide a powerful return on investment as we look at 2017 and beyond.

Measuring our success in 2017 is clearly not only an exercise in growing our numbers, either total membership or attendance at temple activities. Our goal is to measure the synagogue’s impact on the third resolution—continuing to provide meaning and spiritual value to you. This is key to our core purpose and the one that we are very intent on understanding and measuring in 2017. Clearly it’s more difficult to measure than head count. It requires a lot of your input. As I said in my January column, we will be seeking your perspectives and your insights in multiple ways this year, including asking you directly about how the synagogue is affecting your lives. We’ll be all ears, and working on ways to create even more meaningful interactions for you with our community.

May you and your families thrive in the coming year!