Since Carole spoke to you during the High Holy Days, a lot has happened with the joint steering committee, which we formerly called the Chavurah. In October, each congregation held focus groups and many of you attended and gave input. We brought summaries of what you said to our steering group and discussed where we should go from there. The overwhelming sentiment from the focus groups was that we need to be together in one way or another. What does that mean? Well, it can mean anything from all being under one roof but remaining as separate entities or it can run the gamut up to all forming one new congregation with one board with both a reform and a conservative presence—that is, having a reform service on both Friday and Saturday and a simultaneous conservative service on Saturday.
This year our high holy days services are going to be community-based. It was our year to find a rabbi and, before we started looking, the suggestion was made that we join TAS at their building, thus allowing CAE to use the sanctuary here. Once our board understood that a service would be designed to include the traditions of both TAS and BYBS, it was agreed that we should go forward.
We then turned our attention to finances and facilities and formed committees with three representatives from each congregation discussing the data and making recommendations to the steering committee. This committee is in the process of evaluating all options. Nothing has been decided at this time.
We also formed a program committee to look at ways we can do more together. This committee has only met once or twice, but its first charge is to work on a calendar of activities so that we are able to attend programs without conflict. While this has been a goal of the CJC, we have only recently begun publicizing our programs (other than the minigrants) to the other congregations.
Recently Jay Heiferman and I as facilitators of the Joint Steering Committee met with the presidents of all three congregations and with Rabbi Harari and Rabbi Caplan to bring them up to speed as to where we are.
We still have a way to go. We have been consulting with Rabbi David Fine of the URJ whose specialty is bringing congregations together. We have a meeting with him in mid-July to further explore our next steps in the governance of a new organization.
I’m sure you are wondering about timetable. We looked at our timetable and recognized that TAS has a need to know where things stand by early 2017. We plan to communicate with you at high holiday time with a specific recommendation and hold a congregational vote on that recommendation by the end of the year. That does not mean everything will be decided if we come together; it means that we will make decisions with congregational votes by then.
The steering committee is committed to meeting every two or three weeks until we have a recommendation to bring to the congregations. We are being open and welcome your input and comments. Our members of the steering committee are Gayle Weil, Sherman Friedman, Gayla Cahan, Penny Shnay, Carole Fefferman and myself. CAE’s members are Janet Herbstman, Dan Greenberg, Sherry Dieckman, and Steve Horowitz. TAS’ members are Mark Fine, Art Moeckler, Debby Pebworth, Jay Heiferman and Brian Leshin.
Thanks you for your attention.