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TBE 2020-2021 Annual Report

Revised Budget 2020-2021 Summary

Revised Budget 2020-2021 Detail

2020 Annual Report

Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year endind May 31, 2020 & Current Budget for Fiscal Year ending 2021

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Message from Rob Stolzman, President

Greetings, fellow congregants.

I hope you are well and safe. As I write this, I am aware that some of our fellow congregants are suffering Covid-19 infection and related illnesses, some severely. Others are suffering normal life cycle losses, but are isolated due to the pandemic’s reach. And, others are suffering the social and economic pains incurred in these times. Please know that you are not alone, as our entire congregation prays with you, and serves you. Our children will know these stories in our Jewish context, and will be wiser for it.

I am also very cognizant of the havoc the pandemic is placing upon our communal efforts. The very word, congregation, seems oxymoronic with words like Zoom, Webex and quarantine. However, we remain a strong congregation through this time, maybe even stronger. We transitioned from a fully live and physically present Temple to a remote service and teaching institution in a matter of days through the fully present and robust efforts of your clergy, the good planning and implementation of your staff and the support and guidance of your board and its committees.

It is hard for me to believe that enough time has passed that this is my final report to you in my capacity as president of our Board of Trustees, and president of the congregation. It has been the honor of a lifetime serving Temple Beth-El in this capacity, and I look forward to more years of service and attending our beloved synagogue. I am intensely aware that I was a mere custodian of this position, having followed a long history of amazing leadership. You should know that every living past president served with me, giving advice and counsel, and, more importantly, supporting your Temple with vigor.

So, in this context, let me take a moment in 2020, during a convulsive pandemic, to step back, or up, and review the path we’ve travelled together for the past dozen years that I have served on your executive committee. I will not mention any individual names, for if I were to do so, I would need to commit pages to listing all the individuals who have served you with their time, resources and wisdom over these years. However, let’s rejoice in a decade or more of institutional progress notwithstanding demographic pressures against us, a tide if you will against which we sail successfully.

A decade ago, based on a foundation of fiscal strength built by the prior decade’s leadership, we engaged in a long term planning process that anticipated Rabbi Gutterman’s retirement after over 40 years teaching and counselling us; identified the opportunities for us to expand our religious school’s impact on our children and the Temple as a whole; charged us with modernizing our administrative functions and “back room” operations; and asked us to expand our particular brand of Reform Judaism – one marked by a strong commitment to human kindness, social justice, education and community support. From our historic daily minyan, to our vibrant and strong Sisterhood and Brotherhood, to our longstanding legacy of great teaching in our religious school, we were strong then, and sought to be even stronger institutionally.

We have succeeded. Our “back of the house” is stronger than ever. Our staff and your board quietly have implemented significant capital and operating improvements, all with grants and targeted donations to avoid the need for a capital campaign. Our new roof, new A/C chillers, renovated exterior planters, new meeting hall floor and sound system, renovated kitchens, upgraded cemetery infrastructure, and many other physical plant attributes have been improved due to your generosity and the skilled financial acumen of your executive director, chief financial officer, and committees overseeing the work. The results speak for themselves: in the past five years, our membership has grown, albeit slowly, year to year; we have now fully switched from collecting “dues” to an annual volunteer support model, being among the leaders in our movement in doing so and increasing our revenues along the way; our endowment has grown nearly 40% (pre-pandemic numbers); and we have endowed our religious school and modeled its growth on the best practices available.

More important, though, is what we are doing with that platform. You should know that we are experiencing a youth renaissance at Temple Beth-El. Our teen programming (PROVTY) is more robust than ever, evidenced by our having had three regional officers in the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) in the last two years, and dozens of our TBE teens attending local and regional events. I’m pleased to announce we have hired a new full time youth coordinator, a wonderful young man who is passionate and experienced in Jewish youth engagement, and who will undoubtedly continue us on a path of robust youth engagement. Our school aged children are expanding their joyful, accessible and communal education, and our pre-school programs are vibrant with increasing attendance, leading to increased Temple membership.

We are an important congregation for adults too. Our programming, you may have noticed, has increased dramatically over the last five years. Our clergy and guest teachers have conducted classes on topics ranging from Jewish themed films to Jewish feminism, from Moses as a leader to current politics in Israel. As an important congregation, we should not take lightly that in the last five years we have mourned the loss of one of our members and a friend while hearing him eulogized by a former President of our nation. We also treated our whole community to a special time with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. We are permitted, occasionally, to take pride in our accomplishments, and I urge you to do so now.

Of course, the most important work we do as a congregation is implemented by our clergy. Shabbat, Torah study, holidays, teaching, life cycle events, and our faith practice all are implemented or guided by our teachers – our rabbis and cantor. Building on near a century legacy, we are fortunate to have been served by Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman, Rabbi Sarah Mack and Cantor Judy Seplowin. Each are gifted, and I am presumptuous enough to consider each of them my friend. We are blessed to learn from them. Rabbi Howard will be leaving us shortly to lead Temple Habonim in Barrington, and we are so lucky that he and his family are staying in our neighborhood.

Going forward, your Board of Trustees has recommended that you elevate Rabbi Sarah Mack to Acting Senior Rabbi as we work with her to determine how we will navigate the tides during the next phase of our dealing with the pandemic, and so we can determine how we will implement our mission and fulfill our congregational needs, both for next year and then for the future.

We have a bright future. As you may recall, I like to ask, why have faith? If you are faithful, why be Jewish? If you are Jewish, why be a Reform Jew? If you are a Reform Jew, why belong to Temple Beth-El? The answers lie in our work described above. Blessings, Rob

2019 Annual Report

Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year ending May 31, 2019 & 
Current Budget for Fiscal Year ending 2020 

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Message From Rob Stolzman, President

What a great year we have had at Temple Beth-El! We’ve watched our children thrive in our Rabbi Leslie Yale Gutterman Religious School, we’ve witnessed our clergy perform meaningful and beautiful services and care for our community. We’ve observed our Brotherhood and Sisterhood grow and provide programs with renewed vigor, and we’ve seen our ranks grow as more families have joined our wonderful congregation.

Over the course of the last year, as always happens, too many beloved longtime members passed away. We will miss them dearly. It is from generation to generation that we know our faith and our traditions endure. It is at these times we ask, “Why?” Why have faith? Why be Jewish? Why be a Reform Jew? Why belong to Temple Beth-El? Why? The answer differs for many of us or is elusive. But, together, as one congregation, we seek the answer or help others do so, as did those who came before us.

We must remain vigilant, however, as a congregation. Well run synagogues do not happen by accident. We require the constant attention of our clergy to keep us intellectually and spiritually engaged and comforted. We require enormous effort from the staff and volunteers to keep us socially and culturally engaged. And we require strong leadership to maintain a financial and operational foundation that will assure that Temple Beth-El thrives well into the next generation and beyond.

Our “back-of-the house” operations continue to run very well. Our books are balanced, our endowment grows and is well managed, our facility is well maintained and we are grateful to the staff and volunteers who make all of that happen.

These efforts are on-going as we continue to pay close attention to all of these important activities. As you will see, this year will bring some subtle changes to Temple Beth-El enabling us to move well into this century with important new liturgy and educational opportunities for our families. This autumn, we will be utilizing the new Mishkan HaNefesh, our new High Holy Day prayer books. Several “pre-High Holy Day” classes are available this spring and summer if you are interested in getting a preview of what the new texts will look like and their effect on our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.

I look forward to a vibrant year. Let’s all continue to work and worship together to advance Temple Beth-El. L’dor v’dor, from generation to generation.

With great faith in all of us,


Budget 2019-2020

2019-2020 Budget Graphs


Mon, November 29 2021 25 Kislev 5782