BETH JUDAH 2016 IMPLEMENTATION GOALS

A LITTLE BACKGROUND:

In 2014, collectively we developed and embraced a Strategic Plan for Beth Judah.  This document was created to facilitate organizational change and provide guidance and direction to the board and the congregation. It was created and written so that everyone involved with Beth Judah would have a shared understanding of where we needed to go and ideas on how to get there.  

It is a tool to guide the decision making of the board and staff as they develop and manage the policies, programs, services, and infrastructure of the synagogue.  It is based on a three-year planning cycle.  It is a “rolling plan” which means it is reviewed by the Board and the congregation on an annual basis.  As necessary or desirable changes become apparent, the plan will be updated to represent new realities and a revised planning cycle will be established.

In order to facilitate the process of turning ideas into action, specific goals for 2015 were chosen. These goals focused on core functions to reinforce and build a stronger foundation for Beth Judah: spirituality, leadership, governance and participation

INTRODUCTION

An incredible amount of things at Beth Judah have been accomplished in 2015. It was a very difficult year with lots of changes and adjustments. Through the Strategic Plan, our basic goals for the year were to set a new foundation for Beth Judah and to begin to change our synagogue culture and environment.  You should all feel very proud. Thanks to the leadership of Michael and Karen and to the many people who contributed more than their due in terms of time and effort, we have achieved most of our 2015 goals.     

It is only the collective will of the entire community that can sustain Beth Judah.  In this first year of implementing our strategic plan, we have built a foundation for survival and in this coming year, the second year of our strategic plan, we must build the first floor.  This is our make or break year and with your help, we feel confident that we can achieve our goals. However, being realistic, we know that if we cannot build this floor, we will not have enough momentum to go forward and will have to seriously consider dissolution. 


BETH JUDAH STRATEGIC PLAN IMPLEMENTATION GOALS FOR 2016

GOAL # 1: CREATE AND BUILD A WARMER, MORE WELCOMING AND INCLUSIVE CONGREGANT CULTURE (community)

  • Design and produce a simple rack card.  A rack card is a cost-effective promotion piece, usually printed in full color on one or both sides of heavy cardstock.  The standardized size of rack cards (typically 4” x 9” or 3.5” x 8.5”) allows them to fit into a specifically-designed display rack or counter-top holder for easy access.  A rack card can also fit into a standard #10 business envelope, thus serving double-duty as a mailer insert. They can be distributed to real estate brokers who prepare “Wildwood” informational packets for renters; they can be put into motels/hotels.  One side could be a photo of Beth Judah with its history and the other side could list information about services.  Or, you might collaborate with other Churches on the Island and do a rack card that lists all the religious sites on the island.  In a summer community, a rack card helps to spread the word that you exist.   It is possible to get 5,000 rack cards for $150 if it is done on-line.

  • To grow a community, it is important to have a Beth Judah member at every service and event to greet people, to make sure people sign in so that a record is kept for each venue, and to get contact information for all new people so that follow-up, if appropriate can be done.  To do this, someone needs to be responsible for setting up a rotating volunteer system to cover services and events which should give each Beth Judah member the responsibility of taking a turn, once in a while in doing this. A training session should be held for all volunteer greeters. Growing a community is a collaborative effort. Do a monthly list, match members with an event/service, call them and give them their assignments.


 
GOAL #2: ENHANCE WORSHIP SERVICES TO MEET INCREASING DIVERSE SPIRITUAL NEEDS

  • Have the ritual committee work with the Rabbi to create six “Shabbat Experience” services throughout the year that incorporate creativity, music, participatory worship and interactive learning. (on the beach, Havdalah, etc.).



GOAL #3: CREATE HIGH QUALITY EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND CULTURAL OFFERINGS WHICH SOLIDIFY MEMBERS’ COMMITMENT TO LIVING A JEWISH LIFE (Torah learning & cultural).


  • Work with Rabbi to develop SPECIAL PROGRAMS that enhance the celebrations of Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukkah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, Passover (community Seder).

  • Put together team to create special cultural programs for Yom Ha’Shoah-Holocaust Memorial Day, Israeli Independence Day, American Jewish Heritage Month and cultural events.

  • Work with Rabbi to cultivate and nurture Adult Education programs (lectures, classes, discussions) that provide academic opportunities allowing participants to connect to the personal, ethical and social dilemmas that impact our Jewish and secular worlds. This could include outside speakers.


GOAL #4: ENSURE THAT ACTS OF LOVING KINDNESS ARE PROVIDED TO BETH JUDAH MEMBERS IN NEED OF COMFORT, CARE, AND TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD THROUGH SOCIAL ACTION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (kindness & Tikkun Olam-healing of a broken world).


  • Put together a formal Shiva packet explaining the process, procedure, etc.

  • Create a Beth Judah Caring Circle made up of a few members who are willing to visit members in the hospital, visit home-bound members, assistance with grocery shopping for those who can no longer drive, etc.

  • Create a Beth Judah Social Service Day where members of Beth Judah gather to spend their time collectively working on a social service project in the community.


GOAL #5: STRENGTHEN SYNAGOGUE SUPPORT SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:  membership, facilities, governance, finance, communication.

 
MEMBERSHIP

  • Come up with ideas and create a plan to increase membership which includes marketing and outreach strategies and implement it.

  • Identify your target population (former members in the area; interfaith families) and develop a step-by-step plan of how you will reach this population, welcome and thank those who come through your doors, track participants to services and events, and track and follow procedures with people who have expressed interest.

  • Create a simple rack card (could be in collaboration with the houses of worship in Wildwood and distribute to motels and real estate offices to get the word out to summer visitors.

  • Put together a budget to advertise Beth Judah services and/or events in the Cape May County Herald. 

  • Compile a list of Jews who own week-end or summer houses in Cape May County. Send out a welcoming letter and invite them to a specific event and follow it up with a phone call.

  • Research via word of mouth from local Boardwalk business people or the mercantile licenses, names that are Jewish and make a list. Write a welcoming letter with information about Beth Judah, its goal of moving forward, website and communication information and send it out.


FACILITIES

  • Inventory and evaluate Beth Judah assets so that there is a clear understanding of value, use, description and condition of these assets.

  • Put together an operational and maintenance manual for the synagogue.

  • Write policies for the use of the facility to generate additional income.

  • Move the office downstairs to help cut costs in heating and air-conditioning.

  • Consider making five pews on each side of the bimah in the sanctuary moveable to create a more intimate space or use the social hall with a portable bimah.

  • The front doors of the synagogue need to be painted.


GOVERNANCE

  • Create a working calendar for the year which would include services, events, board and executive meetings, when to prepare High Holiday packets, when you prepare renewal membership notices, fund-raisers, etc.

  • Turn Board Meetings into working sessions around pressing issues. For instance, you can divide the board into two working teams.  One team will work for 1 ½ hours to come up with a plan to increase membership which would include listing ideas in order of importance, taking one and/or two ideas and implementing them through the team members.  One team will work for 1 ½ hours writing up rules on using the facility to generate additional income.  At the end of the meeting, both groups come together and present their products: (1) a plan to increase membership and (2) rules on using the facility. 

  • Focus on making the office efficient, upgrading systems (like the computer) and establishing stream-lined procedures for all office operations.

  • Focus on transparency which means a central system where current information is available when needed by the President, Vice-President and board members.

  • Figure out a way to improve communication among the Executive Committee members, Board members, those working on projects.



FINANCE


  • Upgrade the accounting system currently in place and make it efficient and transparent.

  • Evaluate what you can do currently to cut expenses.

  • Work on developing a financial development plan for the next two years.

  • Put together a real fund raising plan for 2016 based on a realistic number of what needs to be raised to meet the operational budget.  Aim for at least 4 or 5 fundraising events.

  • Create a plan to rent synagogue spaces for additional income and then implement the plan.

  • Do what is necessary to get Pay Pal on the Beth Judah website to make it easier to pay fees, dues and give contributions.

  • Create a plan or strategy that will encourage financial support to Beth Judah through bequests under Wills or Living Trust, Beneficiary Designations under Retirement Plan Assets, Life Insurance, Securities, Real Estate, Tangible Personal Property, etc.



COMMUNICATION

  • Set up an automated phone call system.  It does not cost that much and you can no longer rely on a telephone tree.  Communicating what is going on and reminding members of services and events is most important in growing a community.

  • Continue the newsletter and website. 

  • Find a volunteer to keep Beth Judah’s face book page current.

  • Everything written, whether it is an email blast, a covering letter, a thank-you note, a renewal notice is a reflection of Beth Judah Wildwood. Therefore, all written material should be engaging and look professional. Evaluate all written materials and develop a professional form for those documents that are not professional.