A Short Brief by Barry

Introduction

President Barry Deutsch has so much to say and not always the forum to do so. Please visit his blog from time to time and see what he has to say on a variety of topics.

Other Posts
Temple Menorah President's Weekly Message
Join the Kadimah Campaign and experience the joy of tzedakah in our congregation
05/16/18

It is my pleasure to announce a fund-raising campaign over the next 6 weeks titled “Kadimah” – the translation is “to move forward.” The goal is “to move forward” in raising $40,000, to help our congregation begin the broad-based level of tzedakah we need - to help create a board-based level of tzedakah and a “Culture of Philanthropy” any congregation needs to be successful.

How many of us are willing to make an investment in building a great congregation and community?

How deep is your love for Temple Menorah – What would you do to preserve our future?

Do you share an unwavering belief that we will grow, thrive, and become a beautiful community that is rich in love, caring, connections, and spirituality – especially with our new Rabbi?

This is why Rabbi Lewis joined our community. She originally saw, and still sees a ton of potential in our congregation. She still embraces this love and vision for Temple Menorah. Like Moses at Mt. Sinai, are we ready to stand before her and prove to her that we are in love with our congregation, and we are willing to “do what it takes” both financially and on a volunteer level to sustain Temple Menorah.

How many of us are willing to say – I see Temple Menorah as more than a checklist of services I buy. How many of us see Temple Menorah as a place that our family treasures and holds on to with a tight loving embrace?

If you would answer those questions with a loud and resounding YES – then here is where we have come from – and what we need to do to as Kadimah – to move forward:

The time has come in our 70 plus years to step forward as members of this congregation right now, and secure our future by giving Tzedakah. This is not something for those “other members” to do. It’s not about our 5 wealthiest givers giving more. It’s about all of us taking personal responsibility and accountability for the success of our congregation.

Temple Menorah is facing an unprecedented financial crisis of years (decades) of not making the appropriate financial decisions surrounding finances, budgeting, staff hiring, and programs. Layered upon those decades of decisions are demographic trends severely affecting membership in every congregation in North America. We have been desperately dependent on school fees and dues for funding our operations, and time has caught up with us right now TODAY. The real issue is not about wringing our hands, pointing fingers at previous generations, and second-guessing historical decisions. The issue is what are WE going to do about it right now.

Our fundraising and financial support to sustain Temple Menorah is abysmal. We are in the bottom quartile when compared to almost 1000 other congregations in North America. We have rarely focused on raising additional funds from each other in the past. Our mentality in the past has been we provide services in return for your fees and dues. We have rarely bothered to ask each other to reach a little deeper into our pockets and give tzedakah to Temple Menorah as a moral obligation as a member of this congregation – beyond our fees and dues.

We have reached a point in our long and distinguished history where we are at a crossroads – a historical pivotal point in our existence. We can no longer support the operations of Temple Menorah based on just dues and fees. Either more members in our congregation need to step forward to support our community financially by giving tzedakah, or will be forced to look at drastic steps of reducing costs – and instead of right-sizing the congregation as we’ve been working on for the past year – we’ll be forced to shift into downsizing. As many of you know, you cannot down-size enough without risking breaking the back of an organization.

These downsizing options might range from elimination of components of our educational programming, elimination of teachers and consolidation of all classes, elimination of certain religious services, closing Tuvia, and reducing our staff to a bare bones level. How about selling our building and renting something smaller in the basement of a church? How about a part-time Rabbi? How about no professional staff – instead it’s all volunteers running the office, teaching religious school, and providing care to our pre-school children?

None of these ideas are acceptable to me. NONE!! I would hope they are not acceptable to you. I would hope that you resent me for even putting them down on paper.

I refuse to allow the negative forces in our community to move us along a path toward turning off our lights and shutting our doors. It’s not going to happen on my watch, nor will it happen on the watches of the leaders who will be President and Board members over the next decade.

If the option of taking a machete to our congregational finances/budgeting is not acceptable – because if that’s the path we go down together – from my perspective it becomes the beginning of the end of Temple Menorah – then what is the solution?

The solution is for all of us to agree that it is our moral and ethical responsibility to support this congregation beyond the payment of membership dues and fees.  There are so many references in our Torah to the obligation of the community to support itself through tzedakah it makes my head spin. Having studied and worked in fundraising in the Jewish community for almost 30 years, and having these passages ingrained in my soul, I would still prefer to leave the spiritual imperative and Torah study to Rabbi Lewis.

Over the next 6 weeks, a number of our Board members, and other leaders, will be calling you directly to talk about the future of Temple Menorah and to ask you to please reach a little deeper, show your love of this community, and generously give tzedakah with your heart to support and sustain our community.

In this Menorah Message article, I am formally announcing the Kadimah campaign to move our congregation forward and raise $40,000 for the current year before the end of June so that we are not forced into picking up the machete. My family and the Numark family have made the first gifts in this campaign toward sustaining our community of $1,000 each. Please join us in this campaign to sustain, grow, and love our community.

If you’re willing to help – whether it’s a $1000 pledge or a $36 gift, please call me – don’t wait for us to call you. Step up, lean in, join a growing group of members who passionately love this community and are willing to reach a little deeper to show how much Temple Menorah means to their family.

B’Shalom,

Barry Deutsch

President

Temple Menorah

Cell: 310-502-5313

Email: bdeutsch@socal.rr.com

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