From The President
June 29, 2012
It was wonderful to see many of you at the June 15th Congregational Meeting! A hearty thank you to all who were able to participate in the engaging and important discussions and learning there! Among the highlights of the meeting were a conversation about race and racism and the beginnings of a Kolot “Torah of Race;” a report-back on the Synagogue Sustainable Business Models program with which Kolot has been involved over the last 18 months, including provocative data and questions produced from the big survey Kolot completed last year; good news about Kolot’s financial position – we will be ending the year with a very modest surplus for the first time in several years; a bird’s eye view of the incredible growth and vibrant programmatic life of our now 700-people-strong congregation; and a fantastic and ruach/spirit-lifting video performance from Kitah Hay of the Children’s Learning Program.
Available online soon will be special materials about all these topics which were prepared by the Rabbi; President Cindy Greenberg; Treasurer Eric Sloan, SSBM Team Andrea Arzt, Adrienne Fisher and Bob Usdin; and the Race Task Force Leaders Shawn Harris, Roberta Samet and Barbara Gross .
Though these important discussions occupied the majority of our time together, the Congregational Meeting was also convened to allow us to vote on the 5773 Board of Directors. While nearly 50 Kolot members were in attendance, we needed at least 70 members for a legal quorum --- so that "actions" of the congregation like the meeting's vote on the Board slate -- are binding. (We suspect the mid-June date, which is later in the calendar year than Kolot has held prior Congregational Meetings, may have been a contributing factor.) As a result, we need to hold another Congregational Meeting in September, with the express purpose of electing the 5773 Board of Directors.
So, please MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW for Sunday, SEPT 9TH from 3pm-4pm, for a SHORT Congregational Meeting to conduct Board elections. Reminder notices will be to you in the weeks ahead, but thank you in advance for planning to be there!
Kolot's operations are on lower-paced-simmer over the summer, and we wish our staff terrific and restful vacations in the coming weeks. A reminder that the Rabbi leaves for a much needed month of rest in July. Shabbat services, Gemilut Hasadim activities, planning for the High Holy Days and the start of 5773 all continue in these summer months as we all also find time for rest, play, and languid summer evenings.
Wishing you a joyous July,
For the Board,
Cindy Greenberg, President
June 11, 2012
At Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, we know all hands are needed and that the many hearts, hands and voices that power our community are our most precious resources. I am writing today with an exciting update about some of the PEOPLE who work at Kolot.
CANTOR LISA B SEGAL:
Kolot is pleased to share very exciting news regarding our beloved Cantor, Lisa B. Segal. Lisa has been appointed to a part-time position directing the Cantorial program at the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR), where she was ordained. The position begins in mid-July and calls for one day a week on the AJR campus and another half day off-campus. In overseeing the program, Lisa will be advising students, and envisioning the future of the Cantorate. It is a terrific opportunity for her, and undoubtedly will reflect well on Kolot. Kolot remains Lisa's first love and priority and she is supported in this by AJR, which sees Kolot as a model of a forward-thinking and engaged congregation. We are not surprised at all that our Cantor's many talents are in demand and look forward to how Lisa's insights and experience at Kolot will help shape a whole new generation of Cantors!
NEW/EXPANDED PART-TIME AND INTERIM STAFF MEMBERS
As you know, many changes are afoot with the administrative staffing at Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives. I am writing today to introduce you to the team of dedicated individuals that are playing vital roles at Kolot on a part-time and interim basis as we look to some new staffing positions and structures in 2013. These temporary posts were filled consistent with Kolot's recently adopted policy on hiring and transparency. And a reminder that Kolot is hiring for an Administrative and Operations Coordinator; details are here!
TRISHA ARLIN: Longtime Kolot member, VOICES editor extraordinaire and website visionary, Trisha Arlin is now holding down the fort for Kolot as our Communications Coordinator. This expanded position includes her continued role as Content Manger for our website and manager of our social media via Twitter and Facebook to coordinator of all of Kolot's weekly emails and the manager of Kolot's calendar of events on our website. Trisha has been essential to Kolot's communications for years and we are very appreciative of her leadership, especially during this time when we are searching for our next core administrative staff leader.
DANA SCHNEIDER: Kolot member and Jewish communal professional Dana Schneider is providing terrific leadership as Search Coordinator in Kolot's current endeavor to hire a new Administrative and Operations Coordinator. She is playing a key role managing the logistics and mechanics of our search, freeing up other Kolot leaders for the decision-making work on this essential hire.
HADAR AHUVIA: CLP substitute teacher and Kolot K'tanim leader Hadar Ahuvia has stepped up to a new role as CLP and General Administrative Assistant, helping to coordinate the CLP renewal process for 5773 and assist with a range of ongoing, ad-hoc and much needed administrative tasks this summer. Hadar's help is a huge asset to the permanent Kolot staff and the Board as we move through these summer months where so much to prepare for 5773 takes place.
LIZ DAHMEN: Kolot office-mate and freelance consultant Liz Dahmen is bringing great project management talent to twoessential congregational outreach tools this summer -- 1) our Membership Renewal mailing which ensures that Kolot members like YOU have the tools and information you need to renew your membership at Kolot for 5773, and 2) our High Holy Day outreach mailing which reaches thousands of Kolot's supporters and shares all the details of our 5773 High Holy Day happenings.
I know you will join me, the Board and the Kolot staff team in helping welcome all these new leaders to Kolot's family!
Looking forward to seeing you Tuesday June 12th for Kolot's annual and exciting Congregational Meeting (6pm at Kolot's Social Hall; dinner will be on-hand),
For the Board,
MAY 16, 2012
Dear Kolot Chayeinu,
Spring is one of the great transitions of the year -- a time of emerging and opening to new possibilities. I am writing to share news of some transitions that Kolot Chayeinu/ Voices of Our Lives is moving through and new possibilities that are on our horizon.
As you may know, Kolot’s part-time Administrative Director position is coming to a close. Today is Diane Kirschner’s last day in this role and at Kolot. We thank her for her several years of dedicated leadership and diligent work, and wish her great success.
With the phasing out of this position, Kolot engaged in a search for a full-time Managing Director, a newly crafted senior staff role that would serve to manage all the secular operations of the congregation. Kolot has grown so much in recent years -- we are now almost 400 adults and 300 children strong! -- the Board felt this was a much-needed step of aligning our infrastructure with the reality of what it takes to sustain Kolot’s day-to-day vibrant and constantly evolving community life. We began this search in January, and after much work by the Search Committee (Board Secretary Seth Borgos, Past President Adrienne Fisher, former Board member Sherri Levine, the Rabbi and myself) and a final round of interviews with the Board’s Executive Committee, the Cantor and Education Director, we vetted a talented field of candidates. As of this writing, however, Kolot has not yet found the Managing Director we are searching for.
May and these summer months ahead are not ideal times to start a new search: Summer is full of vacations and much needed rest, and early Fall brings the High HolyDays, the start of our congregational year and Children’s Learning Program. With that in mind, the Board has put our Managing Director search on the back burner for the coming months; we will revisit it in December with the possibility of starting another search in January 2013.
Meantime, we have put in place temporary staffing support to carry Kolot through the summer and start of the 5773 congregational year. And, as we expect it will be at least 10-12 months until we might welcome a Managing Director to Kolot, we are now beginning a search for an interim leader, someone who will provide core administrative, logistical and operations support to Kolot on a full-time basis through mid-2013. We are still finalizing the details for this new, full-time yet interim position, and look forward to sharing that job posting with the congregation very soon. We will also be sharing a brief update about all this transition at the Congregational Meeting on Tuesday, June 12th. We hope to see you there.
Just as Spring arrives first with a bit more light, a bit less chill and buds that poke out and then gradually blossom, Kolot is moving through our staffing transition a bit more slowly than we originally planned, but with much care, kavannah and hope for the future.
With appreciation for all YOU bring and share with Kolot
and the hard-work of our Board and staff -- both permanent and temporary! --
as we head to a bigger blossoming in the months ahead,
May 15 2012
Is it May already?! One minute we were poised for the Passover Exodus, the next it is Shavuot and we stand at Sinai (or in Kolot's case, on the high hill in Prospect Park late Saturday night, May 26) to receive the blessings of Torah!
Kolot has been humming along at a dizzying pace! Just today, Kolot's "What's Up?!" teen program debuts their first-ever performance tonight and Kolotniks involved in the Shalom Bayit/Justice for Domestic Workers campaign hosted a festival about domestic workers rights in Park Slope. In recent weeks and months, parents and kids danced the night away at Oy & Ole!; the men's Torah chanting class made 2 Shabbat morning debuts; Kolot hosted the acclaimed and provocative author Peter Beinart to discuss his book "The Crisis of Zionism;" our congregation made headlines for our "big tent of wrestlers" approach to Israel-Palestine especially amidst the furor at the Park Slope Food co-op; 10 Kolotniks attended the national Jewish Organizing Institute and Network summit in NY; Kolot was awarded an important grant to continue building our Locally Grown Shabbat and resources for folks in their 20s and 30s; Kolot leaders headed into the final stretch of learning and reflection of our 18-month participation in the Synagogue Sustainable Business Models project; and scores of Kolotniks stepped up in response to our Passover Appeal and Spring Major Donor Appeal, committing over $80K towards Kolot's operating expenses for the rest of 5772.
And these are just the visible activities! For each example cited here there are a dozen behind the scenes meetings, calls, mailings, emails, and more.
YOU make this all possible. Thank you for all you do for Kolot, day-in and day-out, to build, nurture, sustain and grow this community.
Later this week, we will be sharing some important updates about Kolot's staffing. And in advance of the June 12 Congregational Meeting (mark your calendars now!), we will be sending a report on these and many other important highlights of 5772.
But today, we just wanted to say TODAH RABAH / THANK YOU for all that you bring to and share with Kolot!
A sweet Shabbat to all who are celebrating with Kolot's "Occupy Your Shabbat" this Friday evening!
And chag sameakh: Happy Shavuot and Memorial Day: may you receive some new Torah, and eat a new dairy food in celebration!
Cindy Greenberg, President Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
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