Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Suggestions to the President

Our congregation elects a new President every June, according to the By-Laws.  It actually doesn't.  There is a Nominating Committee Cabal that creates a slate of indefinitely recycled VP's, then since all are non-promotable by virtue of the Peter Principle, a search then goes underway to merge the two attributes of capable and willing.  The slate arrives in the mail of each member and a perfunctory election much like takes place in the Third World has the new group of honchos installed by acclamation.  Then each VP presents his or her achievements for the past year and keeps an extra copy to present next year.  The By-Laws technically mandate a congregational historian, but I don't think anyone really wants any history majors pouring over documents and drawing learned conclusions from them.

So like every place else, we have a few glories and an abundance of could be betters.  They have to come to terms with the Women Thing, AKSE's perpetual Achilles Heel.  The kiddush crew seems pretty well established and Sisterhood initiatives raise money and create an element of gender camaraderie.  But that's not the core mission of our synagogue.  On a broader perspective, making the various activities attractive enough for people not already there to show up, or at least minimize attrition of people who used to show up but no longer do, needs to be a very high priority.  As the great Chacham Woody Allen noted, "Showing up is 80% of life."  I show up a lot less than I once did.

So some real suggestions:

  1. Get the committees in order and list them on the Web site along with contact information.
  2. Invite people to do things.  
  3. Have a really candid and private discussion with the Rabbi on what his vision for advancing the congregation is and make that publicly available either from the bimah or from the Web Site.
  4. Solicit feedback from the defectors.
  5. A few Golden Handshakes to VP's who do not have a meaningful agenda.
  6. Take attendance.
Giant sigh.

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