Meeting of the Board of Directors, Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 7 pm 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech haolam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu la’asok b’tzorchai tzibur.

Praised are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who sanctifies us through mitzvot and has commanded us to engage in the needs of the community.

Present: Doris Angell, Amy Drescher-Crumpley, Deb Holdstein, Karen Muriello, Randy Gillett, Shari Schindler, Rabbi Max Weiss, Mel Loeb, Liz Simon, Danielle Sandler, Carolyn Sherman, Janice Moskoff, Elliot Regenstein, Sarah Lewensohn, Ali Mandell, Marci Sperling Flynn, Jennifer George, Brian Hammersley, Dan Zoloto, Jimmy Korshak, Susan Cicelsky, Aaron Lebovitz, Alan Fox

Absent:     Allison Cowett, Cindy Gould, Marc Imowitz, Maurie Stern, Olga Vydra

Begun 7:08 pm in chapel

  1. Rabbi’s Comments: Background of Purim: just how did Esther gain favor with the king??; wicked advisor, etc. Read selected passages of Book of Esther. Themes include anti-Semitism: Jews are part of community but apart from it as well. Because of Esther’s position she had responsibility to help Jews. Jewish community armed itself and kills many non-Jews. Not a children’s story, basically.
  2. Previous Minutes: Approved minutes of 2/8/2017, after adding Randy’s name to Attendees: file BoardMinutes.20170208.Final.docx.
  3. Mission Statement – Broke into 4 groups to discuss mission statement. Created list of attributes to include, not all about location. General agreement that current statement seems canned; poor advertisement for outsiders considering joining us; too wordy; “in service of God” controversial as opening phrase; nothing about being welcoming. Consider combining Our Mission with Purpose in web site.

    Jimmy, Karen, Janice, Carolyn and Deb will propose revision at our May meeting.

  4. Religious School Committee (Randy): Committee is there to help Robin, not tell her what to teach; she’s a professional. Robin reports events of last month (no longer semi-monthly meeting). Religious school in Hinsdale is in the Hinsdale library until we choose a more permanent location. 10th grade DC trip. This is Robin’s report. Religious school program at OSRUI retreat, especially for 4th graders. Eyes & ears—feedback about things that go right & problems. Want religious school parents to be heard. Mitzvah Day discussion of unjustly imprisoned; school kids did mock trial. Teachers appreciation brunch. Wednesday night program survey. Emergency procedures. Committee is about getting people involved & knowledgeable about what’s happening in Religious School. Encourage attendance by non-members. 9 on mailing list; 3-4 attend meetings; both parents & teachers.
  5. Development Committee (Sarah & Ali): OPT takes in about $1.1M, 80% of which are dues from the Community Commitment form. This doesn’t cover full needs; we’ve been putting off maintenance & improvements. 525+ families now, with no increase in clergy, over capacity space wise. Community Commitment is voluntary. We also get contributions from Yom Kippur appeal, and some from Chanukah & Passover appeals.

    Want members to realize our needs and keep us in mind for major giving. We’re approaching people in small groups. Looked at members by total giving to OPT. Very diverse community but need more contributions from those who can afford. Hosted event in fall; phone appeals; some responded well, others wanted to know our long-term plans. Looking at it holistically. What giving capacity do people have? We’re trying to make members understand that there’s a need and to be asked. Improving transparency about how temple works financially, and what we need to afford additional clergy.

    Community Commitment letters haven’t specified what we actually need. New letter will come out in a few months; working to identify our needs. We haven’t done a good job of setting aside funds for the building; Building Fund line maybe should not be at the bottom  of the form and optional. Building Fund has been used for maintenance & overhead, not updating or major repairs.

    We will never turn anyone away who can’t afford; we want a diverse community.

    Carolyn: should be specific about things like hot/cold; carpet; roof. Better than raising money for specific purpose only when something breaks, like the doors.  Jimmy: want to see list of specific needs—purpose & $.  Sarah: working with Aaron on needs. Susan: needs to see numbers, as certain people might be interested in helping specific projects (e.g., HVAC, Assistant Rabbi).

    Deb: OK to call it “dues” rather than “contributions”; maybe let people see all their giving for the year, but that might backfire if people see a huge number that includes all their giving the previous year.

    Sarah: want the next letter to be different; want to ask everybody for increase from previous year’s contribution.  We’re talking with people active in the development world.

  6. Auction (Jenn): nobody has volunteered to Jenn to help. Jimmy: suggest directly approaching people who might be good.
  7. Bios: Many have not provided them to Lee Kantz ( for posting on web site. Send them to him. Include photo and brief bio.
  8. Shabbat attendance by board members (Shari): missing some blocks. Need more board participation. Shari will send list.
  9. Security: Religious school does fire drill every month. Danielle working with police, FBI, etc. [Discussion pushed off to April meeting.]
  10. Meeting length: used to go much longer than 90 minutes.
  11. Adjourned at 8:49 pm.
  12. Dates to Remember:

            Services Friday night, Saturday morning, Sunday morning

            March 9                      WoOPT Passover Preparation Learning Session

            March 12, 10 am       Purim Spiel and celebration

            March 15                    District 97 Referendum Forum

            March 17-19              Retreat @ OSRUI

            April 3                        WoOPT Seder—men invited

            April 11                      OPT 2nd Seder—Amy in charge

            Next Meeting 4/12: security, politics, social action.

Respectfully submitted

–Alan Fox, Secretary

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