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September Newsletter

Dear Congregants,

Our One Community initiative is moving forward. So many of you have offered to help and most importantly, have strongly encouraged this collaboration. We need to also recognize the dynamic work being put forth by Rabbi David Berkman and Rabbi Brian Leiken throughout this endeavor...without the clergy’s support, none of this would be possible. We want to thank all of those leaders who have already been involved and engaged in the process.

The vision for One Community is to sustain pluralistic Jewish life in Rockland County, to make Jewish life more affordable and to enhance the overall congregant experience. With the largest Jewish preschool and religious school in the county and two congregations sharing two sanctuaries in one building, our community will have the resources to be bold, efficient and progressive.

Our work over the past year and a half has resulted in the bringing together of our schools and an assortment of joint programming between our Adult Ed Committee, Sisterhoods and Men’s Clubs. The second phase of our work turns to the sharing of space, and the development of a financial plan to sustain and enhance Jewish life. Please find ways to be involved, to support and to help us in the process ahead. We need your voices, your ideas and encouragement. Please see below an update on our important work.

THE COMMITTEES We, the steering committee, have been meeting for the past year and a half. The following are the remaining committees and task force. After the holidays, the committees will each be reporting their status.

  • Steering Committee: Mike Backelman, Marion Osterlitz, Harry Baker, Lauren Schimko, Susan Marquith, Jonathan Goldberg, Lance Gilden, Steve Klein, Rabbi David Berkman, Rabbi Brian Leiken

  • Education Committee: Janna Goodman, Debra Stein, Heather Kopleff • Governance Committee: Lauren Schimko, David Scheichet, Jonathan Goldberg, Allen Zabusky, Jay Schaeffer

  • Finance Committee: David Scheichet, Alan Feldstein, Mike Satran, Allen Zabusky, Harry Baker, Rick Cole

  • Facilities Committee: Harry Baker, Lance Gilden, Ken Bernstein

  • Ritual Issues Task Force: Aimee Pollak, Steve Klein, Yanny Hecht, Allen Zabusky, Rabbi Berkman, Rabbi Leiken

  • Adult Education and Membership Committee: Ellen Levinger, Sheila Gersh, Jessica Fetterman

  • Marketing Committee: Melissa Friedman, Gene Freyer

In addition, Rabbi Leiken and Rabbi Berkman continue to meet regularly – designing a new paradigm for pluralistic Jewry in Rockland County.

We have also hired a law firm to help us navigate through the complex laws (and the NYS Attorney General’s Office) that we, as religious non-profits, are required to abide by.

THE NURSERY AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL Our committee and task force work has brought together our preschools and religious schools under the banner of Shalom Rockland Early Childhood Center and BeYachad. Under the direction of Jackie Binstock, Rabbi Allison Berlinger and Shanna Straut, these schools will be a center for developing meaningful Jewish identities and for increasing Jewish literacy.

Shalom Rockland ECC takes the best from both synagogues’ nursery school programs and, in our opinions, will be the “place to be” for a preschool education. The BeYachad program, through its camp-style focus, ensures that our kids develop a life-long love of Jewish learning.

Jackie, Rabbi Allison, and Shanna have been working incredibly hard alongside a group of dedicated lay leaders and we look forward to watching their work come to fruition.

THE PROCESS AHEAD Our first focus was on integrating the schools, marketing them to the public and registering students. Now, our governance and finance committees have begun meeting to draft a plan for sharing space and building financial stability based on the vision statement drafted by the rabbis. As they continue to draft this plan, other committees and task forces are also meeting. All committees will be sharing updates.

Throughout this coming year, we will hold an assortment of joint social, cultural and educational programming. Please see the upcoming list of events for more information.

Once all the plans, financial information, and details are in place and ready to be presented to our congregations, each will hold its own congregational meeting for the purpose of voting whether to approve the proposed partnership between NCJC and TBS. At each synagogue’s congregational meeting there will be plenty of opportunity for questions, and discussion will be encouraged. And of course, the final decision to approve our One Community partnership will be solely in the hands of you, our congregants.

COMMUNICATION Over the course of the next few months, we plan to unroll a communication plan that will include regular website updates, emails and diverse communications.

To begin this process, we will be holding a series of virtual town hall meetings – the first of which will take after the High Holy Days. We recognize the need to keep our community updated and involved in this process.

To help you in this endeavor, we have created a “Link Tree”, which is a launch pad that contains our web pages and social media pages all in one location. Here is the link to the TBS/NCJC Our One Community Link Tree

We thank you for your continued patience and support. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

L’Shana Tova, The One Community Steering Committee: Michael Backelman (NCJC) • Marion Osterlitz (TBS) • Harry Baker (NCJC) • Lauren Schimko (TBS) • Susan Marquith (TBS) • Jonathan Goldberg (NCJC) • Lance Gilden (TBS) • Steve Klein (TBS) • Rabbi David Berkman (NCJC) • Rabbi Brian Leiken (TBS)

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