A Campaign for a Stronger and Sustainable Emunah
It is easy to take for granted what we have in our unique shul community. It is gratifying to take a few steps back and appreciate how we appear to others—as the two of us often get to hear from guests at b’nei mitzvah.
While on the outside we are a sanctuary on a hill, a beautifully landscaped space with a wonderful play-ground, we are even more on the inside. At a time when surveys point to declining membership in Conservative congregations, we at Temple Emunah have created a thriving and warm community with an active spiritual, intellectual, and cultural life. Even more, we are growing in numbers and we are a community that continually builds on its successes. For almost 60 years, we have embraced successive challenges in order to maintain both our vitality and that which distinguishes us as a leading congregation. May we all feel proud of what we have, and vested in what we can become. Our collective vision for Temple Emunah’s future and the legacy we leave is as important as ever.
Inside our congregational family, we can see that the time has come for us to take the next steps to make this vision a reality. We are excited to announce a new endeavor to build on our strength and solidify a vibrant future. Temple Emunah has begun “The Campaign for a Stronger and Sustainable Emunah” to raise more than three million dollars over five years. The immediate goals of this campaign are to address capital needs for our communal home, pay down our debt, and build our endowment. These efforts will address pressing needs and liberate funds to broaden our community’s resources as well as put us on a firm and sustainable financial footing for the coming years.
The Board of Directors authorized this campaign because we have immediate needs that cannot be supported by our current reserves, which were hit hard when congregants were struggling economically during the recession. Further, as David Landis explained on Kol Nidrei, while our membership has grown significantly in recent years, our real revenue has not. This is because, increasingly, congregants find it hard to afford the yearly cost of Emunah membership. Although we can maintain our ongoing operating budget, we find ourselves needing to raise funds to address capital expenditures. Equally important, this is an opportunity to make Emunah’s finances sustainable. This means that moving forward, we operate in such a way that our Building Reserve Fund is sufficient and our budget is based on realistic, affordable yearly commitments from all who wish to join us. A successful campaign will make this so.
We began a quiet phase of this campaign in the fall and expect the campaign to be completed by the end of May. We have been gratified by the early, significant support from the first 30 families we have approached, including support from members of the Board and our clergy. We are very happy to be able to share with you that, together, these generous donors have already pledged over $2.2 million. We must now build on these initial steps to reach our even more important goal of 100% community participation. Whether you can contribute $1 per day for the next five years or $10 per day for the next five years, all of us should be part of this essential endeavor.
Please reserve the evening of Sunday, April 2 for a community-wide Campaign event. In the coming weeks you may hear from volunteer congregants who will be reaching out personally to discuss your individual involvement in this effort. Please make time in your busy schedule for this conversation. Should you wish to get involved even sooner, we invite you to contact us directly.
Finally, we must thank our leadership team. Lois Bruss and Alan Sherman have chaired this major effort with skill and enthusiasm. They have shepherded this project gracefully and, with our consultants, put together a superb—and growing!—cadre of volunteers. In addition, as honorary chairs, the Borisy-Meisinger family is the vanguard of a new generation that is generously committed to Emunah. In Alexis’ words, “We believe that Emunah is a wonderful and important community—for our family, friends, fellow congregants, and fundamentally for modern Judaism. We want to do our part to ensure that base strength so it may continue its thriving trajectory.”
This is our moment. In the coming weeks we will read in the Torah about the Children of Israel standing at Sinai, ready to receive God’s call. Let their (and our) emphatic response at that critical moment, “Na’aseh v’nishma/We will do and we will hear” be our cry as we move forward at this critical juncture. As stewards of this community, together we can forge a strong financial future for the congregation we all hold dear. Our success will allow Emunah to go from strength to strength as a valued part of our lives and as a leader in the broader community.
Wishing you all well and us great success,
Rabbi David Lerner