From Lou Spiro
Time for Change
Welcome to 2015 and our thoughts about change that go along with a new year. Many people make resolutions about things that they want to change about themselves - better work/life balance, more exercise, improved diet, etc. But change is hard and frequently we slip back into our old habits. Group change is even harder to accomplish and there is typically resistance and a longing to return to “the good old days”. We have just begun reading Sh’mot (Exodus), and we see how the newly freed Israelites complained about their life in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, and how much better they said it had been in Egypt, even though their lives had been extremely harsh under slavery.
Change is taking place locally as the Rochester Jewish Community ages and shrinks in size. All of our congregations are impacted by these demographic realities. TBK has lost about 15 percent of our member families over the past five years due to retirements away from the area, deaths and fewer new families moving here. These trends are continuing and our structural budget deficit will only get worse with continued demographic declines - unless we do things differently. Now is the time for us to make these necessary changes so that we can manage our congregational future. Now is the time to take charge of change and imagine a bright future for TBK.
The feasibility study for a comprehensive fundraising campaign is ongoing and it is expected to indicate that there will be significant congregational support to increase the TBK Foundation’s endowment along with providing funds for immediate building needs. The Foundation’s increased investment income will help support our operating budget, which is a very necessary, but not sufficient outcome. We continue to consider changes that would reduce expenditures and/or increase revenues and look forward to collaboration opportunities with other synagogues.
The Board of Trustees plays a big role in these changes, and with the nominating process beginning we are looking for congregants who are comfortable “thinking outside of the box” and willing to commit their time and expertise to making change happen successfully.
Change also means that we need to do more as individuals. We need more people who are willing to reach out to our new members to help them become integrated into the congregation. More people are needed to reach out to unaffiliated friends and invite them to come to TBK with them for services or programs. More people need to build relationships among our young families so that they stay engaged beyond the Religious School years.
Change will take place whether we like it or not. Let’s all commit to making the necessary changes together that will ensure the successful future of our congregation.