My wife, Robin, and I have been Temple members for 40 years. We raised our now adult sons here, attending Trager ECEC, Religious and Hebrew School, celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs and Confirmations, and attended High Holy Day services — all traditional ways most members participate at The Temple. We utilized the services offered by The Temple, but we weren’t active in giving back. We supported The Temple financially with our dues, but after other expenses from raising two children in the Jewish community, we only contributed to other fundraising efforts on occasion, and we didn’t have extra time to be active volunteers.
Four years ago, as my 60th Birthday approached, I decided to become a Bar Mitzvah. After all, 60 is the new 13! I studied with Rabbi Rapport, meeting weekly at his office at The Temple. Walking through the building each week, my eyes were really opened to behind-the-scenes work among clergy, staff, and volunteers and the synergy of these relationships. I became more aware of all The Temple had to offer, and my interest in becoming involved was piqued. I had something to offer back to the place that was providing me the opportunity to explore my Judaism more deeply than ever before.
I reached out to then President, Reed Weinberg, and we began to look at how I could best serve The Temple. I am honored to now serve on the Board and Budget and Finance Committee. Looking back, I remember the first time I looked over a monthly financial statement and my initial reaction was “Wow — The Temple is on very sound financial footing.” To be honest, I wasn’t always sure this was the case. I also found the other volunteers at the table to be group of active, knowledgeable, and dedicated leaders who were breathing new energy and ideas into The Temple. I discovered so many strengths of The Temple. For starters, the fiscal guardianship of The Endowment and balanced budgets show operating surpluses. Both enable the Temple to reinvest in our infrastructure and operations and continually improve. I also learned that as we navigated Covid and transitioned to our new normal, annual contributions to ensure our sustainability and support of our congregants increased. These financial accomplishments and other strengths will be highlighted in future issues of the Bulletin. I hope you will find, as I have, there is so much to take pride in at our Temple.
The top five revelations Bruce discovered by becoming more involved:
- Our financial stability is safeguarded by an active, knowledgeable, responsible Board
- Operations are continually improving through a dedication to reducing unnecessary spending, streamlining processes, and negotiating contracts
- Continued annual contributions to various endowment funds ensure the sustainability of The Temple
- The support of the congregation, even during the pandemic, continues to show the value The Temple is providing to members
- Capital improvements are made every year through the endowments and do not impact the balanced budget. Some of these include:
- New festival windows at entrance
- Restroom upgrades with painting, lighting, etc., especially the women’s entry foyer
- Library updated, painted, and new lighting installed
- New lobby look with painting, lighting, and furniture
- New and updated landscaping around the campus, as well as the cemetery
- Renovation of the columbarium at the cemetery
- New LED lighting all around the Temple
- Staff hallway with new flooring
- New air conditioning unit for entire campus
- New chairs for services
- Enhanced engagement with members through mailings during Passover, HHD, and Hanukkah
- Installed water bottle filling stations around The Temple
- Purchased two Zoom rooms in order teach classes virtually
- New sound system in the Sanctuary