Rabbi’s Review – January 2017

Who We Want to Be

Rabbi Charles K. Briskin


A few months ago, a small group met to revise our vision statement. During our evaluation we realized that what it said—while accurate—wasn’t terribly engaging. We describe ourselves as warm, welcoming and vibrant. In many ways, this is true. Then again, have you ever seen a congregation describe itself as cold, exclusive and dull?

Our previous statement lacked warmth and connection. During a recent Board of Directors meeting we performed a blind review of vision statements from other synagogues. Ours was a lovely statement but it was also very common. It didn’t stand out head and shoulders above the rest, and it didn’t reflect exactly who we want to be.

Following a period of brainstorming, wordsmithing, and copy editing, we are proud to share this with you; a new vision statement that reflects our reality and aspirations.

Walk through our doors and feel our warmth.

Be embraced by people who are caring, nurturing and supportive. Learn with us; pray with us. Sing with us; play with us. Eat with us. Laugh and cry with us. Pursue justice with us. Be yourself. Let’s challenge and inspire one another and seek answers together.

Come home to Temple Beth El where new friends are waiting to welcome you.

Right now these are just words on a page and there is much truth to what is here. However, our aspiration is for Temple Beth El to feel like an extension of your home; a sacred community that is genuinely warm and comfortable and where you know you are valued; a sacred community where different ideas and perspectives can be shared with mutual respect and caring for the other. We want Temple Beth El to nurture you spiritually, intellectually and socially.

When we ask ourselves what makes Temple Beth El stand out, and when others share what they love about our congregation, we speak of the home-like warmth that many experience. In the months ahead as we reach out to the larger community, bring more people into our midst, and show others that TBE is a place to learn, pray, do and be, we will hold ourselves to this aspirational vision and continue to become the extension of the home that we aspire to be.

We look forward to any thoughts and additional ideas you may have that can help us transform this vision into reality.