A SYNOPSIS OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COMMENTS TO THE AGM, NOVEMBER 20, 2016
I was privileged to address the membership at last Sunday’s AGM. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, under the heading of DAYEINU, I presented a “Chai” list of eighteen of the more-significant accomplishments of the past year. When I spoke of Dayeinu, I meant that we tackled so many big picture items; in most cases, each and every one of these would have been enough on their own. Here is my list:
- We relocated all of the Temple staff out of the older, 1938 wing of the campus within a 36 hour period and were only without outside communication for less than half a day. A great big thanks to all of my Temple colleagues for their cooperation as well as to Judy Winberg, Morris Cooper and the rest of the Transition committee for their assistance.
- We began Phase One of the Renewal Project and have achieved tremendous, exciting progress to-date.
- We launched a new, cloud-based, internal database system and migrated most of our operations over to it and will soon connect our members to us in a professional manner.
- We have begun to prepare for the migration away from an old, DOS-based accounting system to a state-of-the-art, cloud-based accounting software.
- We rolled out a brand new membership model called Terumah for families with young children that recognizes the reality that there were barriers standing in the way of these important people forming lasting relationships with Holy Blossom.
- We produced a new, exciting and informative membership renewal package and the subsequent collateral material that went along with it.
- We learned from those who completed the survey that was included with the membership renewal packages, that only 8% of the respondents (less than 5 people) were not willing to recommend Holy Blossom.
- We created, with the assistance of the Holy Blossom Temple Foundation, the brand-new, game-changing position of Director of Community Engagement and hired Tema Smith to join our staff.
- We passed (at last year’s AGM) a timely, comprehensive new By-law for the Temple that became effective yesterday.
- We begun the monumental task of reviewing, modifying and codifying, all of the Temple’s policies into a secure playbook.
- We formed a new Security committee and re-vitalized the House committee.
- We achieved a modest operating surplus for the third year in a row.
- We achieved near-record results, with contributions up about 12% over last year and within a few thousand dollars of our bold target of $600,000 in the Annual Campaign that enables those who cannot afford to pay full dues to be with us.
- We created what we believe to be the only automated, High Holy Days honour systems in existence that enables congregants to select the High holiday honour of their choice from a menu of available options which then updates and removes honours which have already been taken from the list.
- We greeted every guest by a friendly face, and with a new, efficient and professional security firm at our side during the past Holidays, and then assisted everyone to find seats in the service of their choice in an efficient manner where they were treated to the beauty of a Holy Blossom experience.
- Our Facilities Staff, led by manager, Jim Westcott, worked tirelessly to provide the most pleasant environment possible, day in and day out for all to enjoy.
- I have been blessed with such great lay and professional partners on a day-to-day basis.
- And last, but certainly not least; we hired our wonderful new office manager, Judy Amsterdam who makes life nicer for all of us.
I concluded by pledging that all Temple staff would continue to do whatever they could to deliver on the brand promise of “Holy Blossom, Life Can Blossom Here”
Russ Joseph, Executive Director