I think that a wonderful metaphor for being President of a Temple is that of a juggler. One must keep expertly juggling all the balls, making sure that they all stay in place doing what they should, without dropping any and having one roll away under the couch somewhere.
So, what are some of those “balls” that I, Board members, and non-board member leaders are juggling?
Personnel – As a small organization, Temple Israel has no HR department. We need to make sure that our clergy, staff, employees, and teachers are all doing the job they are supposed to do. We need regular evaluations, to follow appropriate regulations, and have in place policies and procedures. The President of the Board “oversees” the Rabbi and Executive Director. The Rabbi supervises the Cantor and Director of Education, who in turn supervises the whole education crew. The Executive Director supervises the office staff and other employees.
Operations/Budget – We need fundraisers (and “fun”raisers) to pay for operations of TI and maintain all that we do. Along with the Ways and Means VP, we determine what we will do and who the right people are to lead those efforts. Our Treasurer and Executive Director create the annual budget and reports on how we are doing. We must strategize and plan for budgetary/operational needs for our future.
Education – We need to be sure that Torah Center for our children and teens is running well, providing a top-notch education. There needs to be stimulating and varied types of education regularly for adults as well, all in consultation with our VP of Education and Director of Eductation.
Ritual Practice – We must be sure services and Torah study are running well and fulfilling the needs of those who participate. With the pandemic, this included in-person and virtual services. Also, all necessary pastoral care needs to be running smoothly.
Social – We need to make sure that there are many opportunities to just be together and enjoy each other. The environment needs to be safe from the aspects of health and security. We need to be sure that all who want, can partake in the fun.
Membership – Our congregants (and even non-congregants) need to feel involved and appreciated. We need to engage in “audacious hospitality”, being inviting to members, and keeping in mind being open to the non-affiliated, members of the larger Jewish community from other congregations, as well as to non-Jewish people anxious to live our values. We must look at all our communication needs and venues and optimize them.
Governance – We need to regularly evaluate our mission, vision, and values. We need bylaws that are up to date and adhered to. Our leaders and future leaders need continuing education about leadership, community connections, and Reform Judaism. We need to do strategic planning with many strategic and generative discussions.
As I am nearing the end of my word allotment for the month, I realize that I am almost certainly forgetting about one of those “balls”. I feel the strain in my back and arms. So many leaders are working so hard, so we can all enjoy our life as Jewish people learning and living our values. As always please send any comments to President@tilb.org
I have one last plea – please be patient with email communications. With all those balls in the air, there are a plethora of communications about all of them and keeping up with email along with all of our other responsibilities is a constant struggle on which we are all working.