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Presidents' Blog No. 1: Jan 2017

Happy New Year and we hope you had a very enjoyable Chanukah.  As promised, we wanted to start off the new year with our first Blog.  By doing this we intend to keep you all informed of the doings here at Temple Beth Am.  

Let us begin by saying thank you!  We are pleased to inform you that we received approximately $51,000 in Kol Nidre pledges.  This exceeds the last two years' pledges by about $4,000.   As we mentioned in our Kol Nidre appeal, “We hear you!”  We are looking into a variety of ways to make being a temple member both more appealing and more affordable, to the best of our ability, but today we want to thank you because you heard us, you stepped up and donated so that we can be here a little longer and really try to make this work. Thank you and keep it coming!!

Next, we will update you on the results of the survey we sent out to every Congregant during Fall 2016. 

The survey was sent to every email address that we have on file. There are presently about 275 member families here at Temple Beth Am. Many families provided more than one email address for contact purposes. So, in theory we sent out over 400 emails requesting the survey to be completed.  We received 111 responses. This is a fairly typical response rate to a survey distributed internally.

Here is what we learned: 
  • 85 of the 111 responses were in favor of considering a move to a smaller building if that was needed in order for the Congregation to remain intact here in Bellmore-Merrick.
  • Most Congregants indicated that they remained members of the temple because they wanted to practice Judaism and enjoyed belonging to a Reform synagogue. 
  • Approximately one-half of Congregants with children in school who responded to the survey indicated that their child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah was the primary reason for being a member (possibly indicating that they would leave thereafter), yet approximately two-thirds of Congregants with children in school who responded said that they would remain members until they left the area.
These results, while not all Congregants responded, were encouraging…the one take away that was disappointing was that most responses indicated that members did not feel a sense of community here at Temple Beth Am. Obviously this is something we would like to see change…we understand that Congregants do not have time or the desire to come to all events but we surely would like you all to feel that this is your community.

Approximately 100 out of 111 have never attended a congregational meeting or attend only 1 or 2 per year. Your attendance is not what is important to us, but your feedback, goals, insight and ideas are. If you are not attending meetings, please read your emails, this blog and the temple newsletter to see what is going on and find a way to reach out. That is how we create a sense of community.

Most people who responded believe that the building needs some work…we would love to make updates…where to start…what can you do to help? What are you willing to do? Do you paint? Can you do plumbing? Are you a designer or decorator? Are you willing to fundraise for a particular project?

When asked whether Congregants want to get more involved one individual indicated that he/she would get involved “when you truly have a new group running the synagogue…the same old timers have run the place for as long as I’ve been a member.” Well, your Co-Presidents are not the same old timers this individual asserted are running the place!! (No disrespect to anyone intended) Come on!!! Here we are, we are making changes, we are in the process of attempting to revise the dues structure, we have a policy of transparency, evident in part by this blog. We greatly appreciate the insight and volunteering of our longer term members and our newer members but let’s not use any part of that as an excuse not to get involved…we need EVERYBODY!!!

Overall, the responses were positive in favor of our clergy…that’s GREAT! In February we will be having our Congregational meeting when we will be voting on our new clergy. It has been proposed that Rabbi Mickey bring us into the next phase of our life here at Temple Beth Am…come cast your vote.

103 of the 111 responses selected email correspondence...everyone please OPEN YOUR EMAILS…this is how we communicate with you.

One-half of the Congregants who responded were not interested in becoming involved in the Arms…Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Chai Society. These groups are just one way of enhancing your sense of community…make new friends.. If you have been a long-standing member we hope you will keep coming out and introduce yourself to our newer members…if you are a newer member, come change the dynamics of our events and help us develop new ones.

Lastly, 20 of the 111 responders only come to our services on the High Holidays…please come more…tell us how to get you there… come spend time with our new clergy come June…come share Rabbi Brown’s experiences before they are over. 

We look forward to seeing you!!

Well that’s it for now…we will keep you in the loop as things develop and we hope to meet and hear from more of you! 

Shari Weissbach and Paul Ross