President's Message: October 2014
From the President – Sustaining our Vision
Three years ago, when a committee was appointed to search for a new rabbi, our congregation embarked on a journey of inquiry and reflection to help determine our path forward. The Rabbi Search committee began this journey by reaching out to congregants to understand better what they valued in our community and what they were looking for in a spiritual leader. Among the outcomes of that process was an insightful document entitled A Look in the Mirror that described, based on the responses of congregants, the type of community that we wanted to become. The overarching theme of that document was the importance of relationships. Since Rabbi Gurevitz’s arrival, our congregation has taken significant steps toward bringing the concept of “Relational Judaism” into being.
We are now preparing to take another important step in this journey. Earlier this summer, I asked our Past-President, Gordon Manning, to chair a task force to study long-term financial sustainability for CBS. The group is called “Sustaining our Vision” and it will address two fundamental issues:
Development of a clear vision statement that describes our community
- Development of a financial strategy that aligns with our vision and helps ensure that we will have the resources to sustain our vision
This will likely be an 18–24 month process of engaging with congregants, and will also include studying other congregations and models. We are looking for additional volunteers to serve on the task force. You need not have a financial background, but simply a sincere interest in contributing to the process. If you’re interested or would like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gordon at email@example.com. The task force will begin its work by early November.
From the President Ė Scrip A Simple Concept
What is this thing called scrip? Itís an odd name for a simple concept prepaid cards that can be used for purchases at your favorite retailers (i.e. gift cards.) The difference between these and regular gift cards is that when purchased through CBS, our congregation gets cash back equal to a percentage of the purchase?- ranging from 3% to 20%, depending on the retailer. As an example, if I use a $100 Stop & Shop scrip card to purchase my groceries this week, CBS gets $5 (5%) in return.
It may sound like small potatoes, but over the course of the year, the money that comes back to CBS from the collective purchases of congregants can really add up. In an e-mail on this subject some weeks ago, Rabbi Gurevitz demonstrated just how big an impact these scrip purchases can have. She used as an example a hypothetical family that uses the cards to buy their monthly groceries, clothes, entertainment, and sundries. At the end of year, that family had earned nearly $1000 for the congregation.
The beauty is that a substantial financial contribution can be made without spending anything above oneís already planned purchases. Letís look at groceries alone; we all buy them every week. If half of our congregants used scrip cards to buy $100 worth of groceries each week, CBS could net about $40,000 a year. That number could easily be doubled or quadrupled when other purchases are factored in, more people participate, etc. Thatís huge potential! Scrip is not a financial panacea, but it can make a big difference in our financial picture. Itís a relatively painless way of raising money, and can take some of the pressure off of annual dues and tuition increases. You may have to sacrifice just a bit in terms of convenience?ó?e.g., you have to buy the cards in advance of making your purchases?- but the reward is worth it, and itís becoming easier than ever to buy the cards?-?they are available on Sunday mornings in the lobby, you can order them on the CBS website, and there is now an option to have a requested amount automatically deducted from your bank account each month, just as you do for your dues, with the cards set aside and waiting for you in the temple office. There is also a way to order and print out your scrip online, requiring only minimal technical knowledge. Stu Weiss and his scrip sales team are ready and willing to assist you. I will stop my pitch here (just before I offer to throw in a free Ginsu knife with each scrip purchase). I hope that everyone will make the small effort required to make scrip part of their regular purchasing routine. And letís find a better name for this thing any ideas?