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Temple Beth El

Offering Conservative Jewish worship since 1935

83 Chestnut Street/POBox 383
Oneonta, NY 13820
Phone: (607) 432-5522

President’s Column — June 2017

On April 30, Rabbi Karp, Alice Lichtenstein, Jim Bervcovitz, Howard Kaminsky, and I attended a conference for Conservative Jewish synagogues at Temple Shaara Tfille in Saratoga Springs, NY.  The conference, titled Small &Thriving Congregations, was dedicated to helping leaders of smaller synagogues develop hopefulness and confidence, celebrate what is going well, and set a course for realizing goals. The speakers addressed many issues of temple leadership and provided ideas and strategies for strengthening our temple community. Alice and Howard addressed the Board of Trustees at our May meeting and shared their reactions to the conference, plus, a list of ideas for moving Temple Beth El forward.

Moving forward poses interesting contradictions. During the past year, it has become clear that Temple Beth El is both small and thriving, but not growing. We enjoyed a membership bump over the past 2-3 years that has outpaced attrition, but this trend seems to be waning. So how do we move forward? Our membership is skewed toward the older age range, yet unlike many Conservative synagogues we have a religious school. It seems we have exhausted our pool of prospective new members, but we periodically meet new people in the community who are interested in joining Temple Beth El. Who we are, where we are, and how we move forward will be part of the discussion at our annual congregational meeting on June 22 at 7:00 PM. This meeting will bring you up-to-date on temple events and business, open Board positions, the state of the synagogue, and the required vote on Rabbi Karp’s contract.

Temple Beth El’s by-laws require the Nominating Committee “to solicit interest from the entire membership and from current board members.” Nominations for open board seats must be taken from the congregation-at-large by June 6 (prior to the Board of Trustees meeting on June 8, at which time nominations will be presented). Nominations can also be taken from the floor at the annual congregational meeting, but will require a second. We have two board members whose terms are ending but who are each willing to run for re-election, Steve Feuer and Irene Weinberg. If you wish to make a nomination for a three-year term and election, please let a member of the Nominating Committee know (Anne Green 433-1203, Hollie Jaffe 433-4745, and Ken Sider 432-8480).  The Board of Trustees meets at least once per month on a weeknight from 6:30-9:00 PM, and all members have an additional role in temple leadership.

The future of Temple Beth El rests on those of us who value a synagogue in Oneonta and demonstrate that commitment through our on-going support. We welcome you to be an active member and contribute in any way you can. Please attend the congregational meeting on June 22.