A Message from our President, Evan Wilkoff

My Friends and Fellow Congregants,

In recent days we have received questions and comments regarding our latest announcements about changes at Temple. Change is inevitable in any organization. As the new Board President, I wish they weren’t happening so soon and in such quick succession. Please be assured that our synagogue remains on solid operational footing and will emerge from these transitions stronger than ever.

I want to provide some additional details and context.

Executive Director Transition: We are thrilled when a member of our Temple “family” is able to pursue his or her passion. Our Executive Director, Dr. Laura Bernstein has just such an opportunity and although we are sorry to see her go, we wish her nothing but the best. Laura is leaving us in an excellent position to move forward with a full month’s notice. She will continue to work with an interim executive director after her official end date on August 2 to ensure a smooth transition. Laura will also remain a committed congregant.

We engaged LevRidge Resources to give us time to find a full-time executive director. Many of you will recall that prior to hiring Laura, we brought in Kathy Ridge, owner of LevRidge Resources, to serve as our interim. This time, Kathy will provide supervisory support and Art Gallagher, an experienced local executive and civic leader, will be our interim executive director. We could not be better positioned. The board is also forming a search committee to identify a new executive director. Although the timing of this process has not been finalized, we would not expect to make a hire until early 2019.

Kitchen and catering: Izzy’s Catering has been a fixture at Temple events for several years, and we have valued Jered Mond’s service. Based on a six-month review of our kitchen management, catering functions, and variety of offerings, we chose not to renew the arrangement with Izzy’s Catering when it expired on June 30. Although Jered will no longer have primary kitchen management responsibilities, he will have the opportunity to provide catering services on a contract basis for congregants through Izzy’s Catering.

Building closed on Thursdays: Last year, we began a limited Thursday operating schedule. The clergy and much of the staff do not typically work on that day and few, if any, meetings are scheduled on Thursdays. Thus, the recent announcement reflected a relatively minor change to existing operations – although candidly, we did not communicate it clearly. The overriding goals remain to provide well-deserved time off to clergy and staff who work through weekends, experiment with staffing schedules, as well as provide cost savings (no lighting, air conditioning, etc.) where possible. Regardless, pastoral care support remains available to you on a 24/7 basis. If the decision to close the building on Thursdays does not turn out to serve our congregation’s best interests, we will make adjustments.

ShulCloud: Our new member portal, ShulCloud, is now being used for calendar, event registration, online payments, and donations. When members are logged in and make changes, accounts are updated immediately which saves significant staff time. We know some of you have encountered glitches; patches have been made and more are in the works. If you haven’t signed on to ShulCloud, please log in to manage your Temple Beth El account, enroll your children in Religious School, and RSVP for Temple programs and events. If you experience any issues or have any questions, please call the temple office for assistance.

We will provide updates on all of these items, and again, appreciate your patience and support during the various transitions. Please contact me directly ​​​​​​​or any member of our board, clergy, or staff with questions or comments.

The High Holy Days are just over a month away. In our 75th Anniversary year, we look forward to looking back and looking forward. I am proud to serve as your president and know this will be a remarkable year with all of you.

Evan Wilkoff