As has long been our tradition here at CBE, we have elections every two years in June to seat a new Board of Directors to start in July of that year. It is that time again, and by the time this article is printed, we will have concluded the election to choose the people who will be guiding our synagogue.
Many nonprofit organizations are structurally quite large with many employees and a large board, and an individual board member may often have little more to do than to show up at a monthly meeting, listen to PowerPoint presentations, and cast a vote here and there to approve motions drafted by staff members. Other nonprofit organizations are much smaller in nature, and a board member may play much more of a ‘hands on’ role both in setting the agenda as well as implementing it and seeing it through to fruition. CBE’s board is definitely more in the tradition of a smaller and more ‘hands on’ approach to participation and governance.
Beginning over 40 years ago as a small lay-led group of mountain Jews meeting in homes and then in a church, we have certainly evolved and grown over the years, now having our own beautiful building, a small professional administrative staff, a vibrant and involved congregation, multiple programs and services, new and emerging initiatives, and of course, our beloved Rabbi Jamie to provide inspired spiritual leadership.
These changes did not happen on their own, of course, but rather though the foresight, planning, and hardworking dedicated efforts and contributions of previous boards and so many others who put their shoulders to the wheel to turn a vision into reality.
Despite our growth, our synagogue remains structurally small, and that is certainly a double-edged sword for those of us who choose to serve in leadership positions here at CBE. There is both challenge and opportunity. As a volunteer board, with nearly all of us having full-time jobs elsewhere, there is more for each of us to do, with much less time to do it than we’d like. On the other hand, there is a sense of intimacy, collaboration and camaraderie that emerges from the work we do as a smaller organization, often with passionate and sometimes heated discussion about vision and purpose, as we make decisions big and small, related to the many issues that impact our synagogue. Like so many small nonprofit organizations, we remain financially tight, forcing us to temper our ideas and hopes with the hard reality of practicality and affordability.
As a board, I believe that the one thing that binds us together and animates our efforts is our shared commitment to and love for Congregation Beth Evergreen, our warm and inviting Jewish spiritual home in our beautiful mountain community. As Rabbi Jamie reminds us in an opening prayer at the beginning of each meeting, we are engaged in ‘holy work’ in the service of our synagogue and our congregation.
As your vice-president in the past term, as many of you know, I was nominated to be your board president for the next two years. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will have assumed that position at the time of this Shofar printing. As your president, I look forward to a warm, collaborative and productive relationship with the superb individuals who have chosen to run for other board positions as well, many of whom have already served on the board with me for the past two years.
I consider it to be a distinct honor to have such thoughtful, caring and committed people by my side, sharing their gifts as we continue to strive to do the right things, as best we can, in the service of Congregation Beth Evergreen. And, if any of you are interested, there is still space on the board for another voice or two, should you wish to join us in our efforts.