Congregational Meeting Remarks

Miss the Congregational Meeting this past Tuesday?  Below are the remarks from President Andy Joskow.

I want to thank all of you for coming tonight.  As you know, we are going to have a two part meeting tonight.  We will first cover various items of Temple business, and then we will move into a presentation and discussion of the recent Pew Research Study about Jews in America – the discussion will be led by Rabbi Schwartzman.

I would like to bring you up to date on a few things that are going on right now:

First, the Executive Committee has appointed a task force to look at the administrative structure of the Religious School, and to make recommendations for the future.  Look for Cantor Leider’s article about this in the January issue of the Connection.  We have a very large religious school – over 900 students at this time in K through 12 – trying to fulfill educational needs at many different levels.  We are doing this review to make sure we are operating in the best possible manner.   The task force includes our VP of Education, Ellice Halpern and our Director of Life Long Learning, Cantor Allen Leider, as co-chairs, and five congregant parents.  We hope that the group will be able to report out any recommendations they may have some time this winter.

Second, we are searching for an assistant cantor.  After a period of engagement this fall with the Board, the Staff, and the Congregation as well as with our Finance Committee, the Board approved the search for an additional clergy.  In consultation with the current clergy, it was decided that the search should be for a second full-time cantor.  Cory Amron and Curt Ritter are chairing this search committee.  As of now we are officially in placement – meaning we are using the American Conference of Cantors process to find a second cantor.  We had a well-attended event this past Sunday, December 15, that gave congregants an opportunity to give their views on the characteristics they would like to see in a second cantor.   Once resumes are reviewed and initial interviews occur, we hope that we will find some candidates to bring to TRS to meet a wider group of people.  Again, there will be updates as the winter goes on.

Third, as I mentioned at our June meeting we spent time in the spring thinking about the role of a Development Director at the Temple.  A search committee began its work over the summer developing a formal job description, and we went formally onto that job market at the end of September.  A few possible candidates have come forward, but the committee continues to work hard on getting word out that we looking to fill this position. We will continue to persist on this, for sure.  My observations over the last 18 months as President of TRS is that someone in that position could be helpful to us – in different ways, such as helping with stewardship of our existing endowment funds, and thinking about fundraising in the long run.

And my last topic – as was announced in the e-letter, TRS has agreed to be an overflow Hypothermia Shelter, one day per week, as part of a network of faith organizations run through Bailey’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter.  We have paid strict attention to security, insurance, and supervision in agreeing to participate in this program – a program that is run by Fairfax County, which owns the Bailey’s shelter, and contracts with the Volunteers of America to operate it.  Other churches and mosques in the area have participated in this program without problem for a number of years.  At TRS we have now sheltered, without incident, homeless clients on the last two Mondays, December 9 and yesterday, December 16.   The one change from the discussion of this topic that was in the e-letter is that the number of people that we can expect is somewhat larger than the original 12 to 15 that had been anticipated – on Dec. 9th, when alternative overflow shelter space was limited and there was snow and ice on the ground, we had over 40 men, while last night – a cold night – we had 34 men.  This is a wonderful way for TRS to embrace an act of Tikkun Olam, and I am glad that TRS can be a part of it.

Before I invite Rabbi Saxe to give the Clergy report, I’d be happy to answer any questions about these items or others.

Thank you very much.

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