In very large part, due to the efforts of Rabbi Fisher, we have created and re-established nine committees (henceforth to be known as “Teams”), which are essential and integral to the functioning of our Temple.
Rabbi Fisher, as our spiritual leader and myself, Mel Tenen, as Temple President, have worked closely to form and implement these Teams. We have asked many members to participate in the initial formation of these Teams and have been deeply gratified at the widespread support of those members whom we have approached.
A Temple like ours is deeply rooted in each and every member’s vested participation and volunteerism in all that we do. Quite simply, it is each of you that has enabled us to sustain ourselves through your love of our Temple and the corresponding effort that each of you has put forth over these many years.
Temple Beth Or Teams
- 1. Membership/Hospitality
“Al tifrosh min hatzibur/ hachnasat orchim” – This team would oversee the nurturing and sustaining of current membership. It would include reaching out to past members or those who may have lapsed in their membership, or have been disconnected in any way. Also, this team would devise innovative ways to attract new members in various demographic areas, with a special emphasis on younger individuals and families, and the LGBTQ communities. This team would explore the idea of requiring each member to sign a brit, a covenant, to insure everyone continues to expand his/her commitment to Torah (Jewish learning), our kehillah (volunteering and supporting our community), and in tikkun olam (social justice). How can we make the non-Jewish members of our community feel a sense of shalem, wholeness? For that matter, how can we make everyone feel valued and important?
This team would also take every opportunity to demonstrate our “audacious” hospitality to anyone entering our physical space or participating in any of our programs/initiatives off-campus. Attention should be made beyond the obvious, including the language we use in all of our printed materials and on social media, and how our physical space supports this Jewish value. Create an initiative (“Ambassador”, “Chaver”) to pair up new members with current TBO members to welcome them with audacious enthusiasm, inviting them for holiday celebrations, both at TBO and at their own homes, and to participate in all TBO events/programs.
- 2. Social Media and Communications
“Abracadabra, I create as I speak.” Evaluate the language we use and the best methods for conveying our message beyond our “four walls.” Everything we put out into the universe must reflective who we are, including our “audacious hospitality.” We must refine our message and our focus in the coming year. In order to create a buzz in the community to attract people to join our efforts and to lure back old/past members, we need to have our communications reflect who we are, not only our priorities but our demographics and our spiritual energy. A strong effort must be made in the posting of photos and videos on a continual basis. If we are to grow our community, we need to share the gifts we have to offer with others and create a visual representation of who we are and what are our priorities.
- 3. Sacred Space (Interior)
“V’asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham”, And let them make for Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8) How can our physical space reflect the pride, passion, and sanctity of our community to allow the Divine to dwell among us? Explore our physical spaces with a critical eye towards the set-up of our sanctuary, the entrances, and conversation areas.
- 4. Sacred Space (Exterior)
“V’asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham”, Enhance our outdoor spaces to make sure that they reflect our audacious hospitality, set the stage for meaningful spiritual experiences, and promote an environment of study and conversation.
- 5. Fundraising
“Daber el b’nei Yisrael v’yik’chu li terumah me’et kol ish asher yid’veinu libo tik’chu et terumati, Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him” (Exodus 25:2). Our doors are open to everyone who wants to join us for learning, services, or for our social service efforts. And, in understanding that, TBO relies on the financial contributions of its members. We must rethink our participation levels to fit the needs of our community so that everyone gives because their “heart so moves him” and supports our efforts in an amount that is commensurate with their giving abilities. Confidential conversations can be had for those whose financial situation needs special consideration. Examine the language used in our materials and in the way we ask for financial support. Insure the value of “audacious hospitality” is expressed in all of our communications.
The team will also assess the best ways to cultivate and sustain a financially healthy community, not only with our annual giving revenue, but also exploring strategic initiatives, long term endowments, project specific funds and donations. After the High Holy Days, this committee will create a task force to revamp our membership financial structure and registration, Tishrei membership, High Holy Day tickets, etc.
- 6. Social Justice
“Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof”, Justice, justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:18). At the core of our mission is the active pursuit of justice and dignity for all people. Explore the various organizations and initiatives that our synagogue can be actively supporting locally, nationally, and globally in our Jewish mission of tikkun olam, the repair of our world, both Jewishly and universally. Our goal is to obtain 100% participation by our members in the projects chosen by the team each year.
- 7. Ritual and Holiday Celebrations
“Hiddur mitzvah”, the beautification of a mitzvah” are actions that beautify or glorify the observances and celebrations of our Jewish calendar. Explore how we can bring greater meaning and holiness to our holidays and Shabbat experiences. Think of the physical, spiritual, and emotional impact of our efforts. How can music be used most effectively to enhance our prayer experience? How do we want people to feel while participating? What do we want them to walk away with? How can we make our rituals and prayer experiences transform people to be and do better in this world? How can we welcome the active participation of the members in our community in our services and celebrations, without regard to financial capacity, sexual orientation, or religious orientation (referring to the partner of our interfaith couples)?
- 8. Jewish Learning
“Asei l’cha rav, u’k’neh l’cha chaver”, acquire for yourself a teacher, and gain for yourself a friend” (Pirke Avot 1:6). Jewish learning is at the heart of our tradition. Explore the depth and breadth of our learning opportunities. With the input of the rabbi, create a program to attract families with young children, including one geared toward b’nei mitzvah.
- 9. Social Programming
“Al tifrosh min hatzibur”, do not separate yourself from community” (Pirke Avot 2:4). This Team will assess the various needs of the community, paying special attention to those demographics in which we would like to expand our efforts, including capitalizing on the trend of young families moving into South Dade, the LGBTQ community, and Millennials. We will also explore long standing programs to evaluate how to do them better, to see if they still serve the function for which they were intended, and/or to see if there are more effective ways to accomplish those intended goals.